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L I B R S 




Evelyn H. Sherman 



' LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 
CALIFORNIA 

SAN DJEGO 



THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY * f 3 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO 
LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA 



THE GRKAT WORKS 



OF 



THOMAS PAINE. 



COMPLETE. 



POLITICAL AND THEOLOGICAL. 



D. M. BENNETT: 
LIBERAL AND SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING HOUS1. 

141 EIGHTH STREET. NEW YOBK. 



CONTENTS 

LIFE OF PAINE, 

COMMON SENSE, 

THE CRISIS, 

THE BIGHTS OF MAN, 

THE AGE OF REASON, 

EXAMINATION OF THE PBOPHEOTEB, 

BEPLY TO THE BISHOP OF LLANDAIF 

LETTER TO MR. ERSKINE, 

AN ESSAY ON DREAMS, 

LETTER TO CAMILLE JORDAN, 

THE BELIGION OF DEISM, 

LETTER TO SAMUEL ADAMS 



INTRODUCTION, 



A full and impartial history of THOMAS PAINE alone can supply 
that, the omission of which falsifies every work pretending to give 
an account of the war for the national independence of the United 
States. 

The American Revolution of 1776, of which THOMAS PAINE 
was the author-hero, was the prelude to that far more sanguinary 
struggle against oppression and wrong which overturned, or irre- 
parably shook, every throne in Western Europe ; including, in the 
category, even the chair of St. Peter ; and of which struggle the 
most prominent author-hero was JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU. 

This is generally understood. But a truth incalculably more 
important has hitherto been either wholly overlooked, or but glim- 
meringly perceived ; it is this : Both the American and French 
Revolutions were but prominent incidents, or crisis-stages, in the 
irrepressible struggle for human rights which commenced when na- 
ture implanted in her highest organism, man, that instinct which 
points to the goal of development ; that unconquerable desire for 
perfect and sufficiently-lasting or "eternal" happiness, which indi- 
cates the common aim and attainable end of science, of art, and of 
all natural, materialistic, or intelligible activities : that thirst for 
liberty which can be satisfied by nothing short of the revolution 
which will remove all constraint which will accomplish revelation 
and thus justify LUTHER, ROUSSEAU, PAINE, FOURIER, and all other 
revolutionists. Of this crowning revolution, the text-book is " The 
Positive Philosophy " of AUGUSTE COMTE. 

Had Thomas Paine beeli seconded as valiantly when he made 
priestcraft howl, as he was when he hurled defiance against kings, 
despotism by this time would really, instead of only nominally, have 
lain as low as did its minions at Trenton and Yorktown. The land 
over which the star-spangled banner waves would not have become 
the prey of corrupt, spoil-seeking demagogues, nor would Europa 
now tremble at the nod of a military dictator. 

Not but that priestcraft itself has a substructure, all but "supei 
naturally" profound, which must be sapped before justice can be 
more than a mockery, freedom aught but a mere abstraction, or hap- 
piness little else than an ignis fatuus. But man should have con- 
tinued the great battle for his rights when the soldiers and author- 
heroes of liberty were in the full flush of victory ; instead of making 
that vain, mischievous and ridiculous (except as provisional) com 
promise with the human inclinations.called duty ; and falling bach, 
on that miserable armistice between the wretched poor and the un- 



4 INTBODUCTION. 

happy rich, for the conditions of which, consult that refinement of 
treachery, misnamed a constitution, ^and that opaque entanglement, 
absurdly entitled law. Can right be done and peace be maintained, 
under institutions whose ultimatum is to give half a breakfast to the 
million, and half a million or so to the 'balance of mankind, condi- 
tioned on such anxiety on the part of the latter, lest they be added 
to the million before dinner-time, that dyspepsia, rather than nu- 
trition, "waits on appetite ?" Is man irremediably doomed to a con- 
dition which, at shorter and shorter intervals, forces him to seek re- 
lief in one of those saturnalias of carnage and devastation which 
throws progress aback, menaces civilization even, and yet but par- 
tially and temporarily mitigates human ills ? Is this the whole sum, 
substance and end of revolution ? It appears to me, that they who 
believe this, and who admire and commend Thomas Paine from 
their stand-point, dishonour his memory far more than his professed 
enemies do or can. 

But to enable all to understandingly form their own conclusions, 
I shall give all the essential facts with respect to the history before 
us, with which a long and careful search, under most favourable 
circumstances, has made me acquainted. For, let facts be fairly 
stated, and truth be fully known, is the correlate of the proposition 
(the correctness of which I demonstrated in a former work "The 
Religion of Science") that nature, simple, scientific and artistic, 
will prove all-sufficient ; and neither needs, nor admits the possibility 
of, a superior: that man, therefore, requires nothing more than what 
nature is capable of being developed into producing ; nor can he 
know aught beyond nature, or form what can intelligibly be called 
an idea of any happiness or good, superior to that which, by means 
of the substantial, including of course, man himself, can be procured. 

There needs but to have the light of truth shine fully upon the 
real character of Thomas Paine, to prove him to have been a far 
greater man than his most ardent admirers have hitherto given him 
credit for being. Paine's history is so intimately connected with that 
of progress both before and since his time, that it will necessarily 
embrace a very wide range of liberal information. 

I am not unmindful that there have been hundreds, perhaps 
thousands of author-heroes and heroines. Bacon, Locke, Luther, 
Voltaire,* Fourier and Robert Owen were prominently of the former, 
and Mary Wollstonecraft and Frances Wright were decidedly 
among the latter. But it appears to me, that none of their writings 
have been quite such text-books of revolution, as those of Rousseau 
and Paine were, and those of Comte now are. 

* Schlosser, in his "History of the Eighteenth Century," whilst speaking 
of Voltaire, Shaftesbury, and "the numerous deists who were reproachfully 
called atheists," says, that they "wielded the weapons" which Locke "had 
forged." 



LIFE 



OP 



THOMAS PAINE. 



PERIOD FIRST. 
17371774. 



FROM MR. PAINE'S BIRTH, TO HIS ARRIVAL IN AMERICA. 

THOMAS PAINE was born in Thetford, Norfolk county, 
England, on the 29th of January, 1737. 

His father was a member of the society of Friends, and a 
staymaker by trade ; his mother professed the faith of the 
church of England. 

At the age of about thirteen years, he left the common 
school, in which, in addition to the branches of education 
usually taught therein, he had learned the rudiments of Latin, 
and went to work with his father. But his school teacher, 
who had been chaplain on board a man-of-war, had infused 
into his young and ardent mind such an enthusiasm for the 
naval service, that after reluctantly toiling about three years 
at his not very lucrative or promising calling, he left home, 
evidently resolved to " seek the bubble reputation even in the 
cannon's mouth," and to pursue his fortune through such 
chances as the war then imminent between his country and 
France, might offer. 

Dreadful must have been the conflict between his com- 
passionate nature and his necessities and ambition. Arrived 
m London, without friends or money, he, nevertheless, strove 
by every means in his power to settle himself honorably in 
the world, without embracing the dreadful profession he had 
been both constituted and educated to look: upon with hor- 
ror : he even hesitated so far as to return to his old occupa- 
tion- 



D LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

After working a few weeks for Mr. Morris, in Hanover- 
street, Long Acre, he went to Dover, where he also worked 
a short time for a Mr Grace. 

War between England and France had now been de 
clared ; our hero was in all the buoyancy of youth, being not 
yet seventeen years old ; fortune and glory were possible on 
the one hand, poverty and toil inevitable on the other. 

War is murder, 'tis true ; murder, all the more heinous for 
being gloried in ; murder, all the more abominable for the mag- 
nificence of the scale on which it is perpetrated ; murder, which 
touches the lowest depths of cowardice, in being carried on 
by vast armies and immense fleets, instead of by smaller and 
bolder gangs of pirates, and by more venturesome banditti. 
But its infernal craft would sail, and its death-dealing can- 
non be manned, equally with or without him ; and the place 
which he refused would be taken, probably by some one with 
far less tenderness for a wounded or surrendered foe. 

On board the privateer " Terrible," Captain Death, en- 
listed, probably in the capacity of a sailor or marine, the 
man who was afterwards the soul of a revolution which ex-' 
tended elective government over the most fertile portion of 
the globe, including an area more than twenty times larger 
than that of Great Britain, and who had the unprecedented 
honor to be called, though a foreigner, to the legislative 
councils of the foremost nation in the world. 

For some unexplained cause, Paine left the " Terrible " 
almost immediately, and shipped on board the " King of 
Prussia." But the affectionate remonstrances of his father 
soon induced him to quit privateering altogether. 

In the year 1759, he settled at Sandwich, as a master 
staymaker. There he became acquainted with a young 
woman of considerable personal attractions, whose name was 
Mary Lambert, to whom he was married about the end of the 
same year. 

His success in business not answering his expectations, 
he, in the year 1760, removed to Margate. Here his wife 
died. 

From Margate he went to London ; thence back again 
to his native town ; where, through the influence of Mr. Cock- 
sedge, the recorder, he, towards the end of 1763, obtained a 
situation in the excise. 

Under the pretext of some trifling fault, but really, as 
there is every reason for supposing, because he was too con- 
scientious to connive at the villainies which were practiced 



PERIOD FIRST. 7 

by both his superiors and his compeers in office, he was 
dismissed from his situation in little more than a year. It 
has never been publicly stated for what it was pretended 
that he was dismissed ; and the fact that he was recalled in 
eleven months thereafter, shows that whatever the charge 
against him was, it was not substantiated, nor probably, a 
very grave one. That the British government, in its subse- 
quent efforts to destroy his character, never made any handle 
of this affair, is conclusive in his favor. 

During his suspension from the excise, he repaired to 
London, where he became a teacher in an academy kept by 
Mr. Noble of Goodman's Fields ; and during his leisure hours 
he applied himself to the study of astronomy and natural phi- 
losophy. He availed himself of the advantages which the 
philosophical lectures of Martin and Ferguson afforded, and 
made the acquaintance of Dr. Bevis, an able astronomer of 
the Royal Society. 

On his re-appointment to the excise, Paine returned to 
Thetford, where he continued till the Spring of 1768, when 
the duties of his office called him to Lewes, in Sussex. There 
he boarded in the family of Mr Ollive, tobacconist ; but at 
the end of about twelve months, the latter died. Paine suc- 
ceeded him in business, and in the year 1771, married his 
daughter. 

In 1772, he wrote a small pamphlet entitled " The Case 
of the Excise Officers." Although this was specially intended 
to cover the case of a very ill paid class of government 
officers, it was a remarkably clear and concise showing that 
the only way to make people honest, is to relieve them 
from the necessity of being otherwise. 

This pamphlet excited both the alarm and hatred of his 
superiors in office, who were living in luxury and ease, and 
who, besides getting nearly all the pay for doing hardly any 
of the work, were becoming rich by smuggling, which their 
positions enabled them to carry on almost with impunity. 
They spared no pains to pick some flaw in the character or 
conduct of the author of their uneasiness, but could find 
nothing of which to accuse him, except that he kept a tobacco- 
nist's shop ; this however, under the circumstances, was suffi- 
cient, and the most honest, if not the only conscientious ex- 
ciseman in all England, was finally dismissed, in April, 
1774. 

Paine associated with, and was highly respected by the 
best society in Lowes, although so poor, that in a month after 



8 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

his dismissal from office, his goods had to be sold to pay hia 
debts ; a very strong proof that he had never abused his offi- 
cial trust. 

I have twice already so far violated my own taste, to 
please that of others, as to mention that the subject of these 
memoirs had been married. But I cannot consent to meddle 
further with, and assist the public to peer into affairs with 
which none but the parties immediately concerned have any 
business, except under protest. Therefore, I do now most 
solemnly protest, that I feel more guilty, more ashamed, and 
more as though I ought to have my nose rung, for writing 
any thing at all about Mr. and Mrs. Paine's sexual affairs, 
than I should, were I to enter into a serious inquiry respect- 
ing the manner in which they performed any of their natural 
functions. Still, reader, you may be sure of my fidelity ; you 
need not suspect that I'm going to suppress any of the facts, 
for if I undertake to do a thing, I'll carry it through, if it's 
ever so mean. 

To begin, then : 

In the flowery month of May, exactly one thousand seven 
hundred and seventy-four years after Jehovah had been pre- 
sented with a son by a woman whom he never, not even subse- 
quently, married, Mr. and Mrs. Paine separated ; not through 
the intervention of the grim tyrant who had caused the sepa- 
ration between Mr. Paine and his first wife, but for that most 
heinous of all imaginable causes, in old fogy estimation, mu- 
tual consent. On the fourth of June, in the year just designated, 
Mr. Paine signed articles of agreement, freely relinquishing to 
his wife all the property of which marriage had legally robbed 
her for his benefit. This was just ; but a Thomas Paine would 
blush to call it magnanimous. Behold them both, in the prime of 
life, in a predicament in which they were debarred, by the inscru- 
table wisdom of society, from the legal exercise of those func- 
tions on which nearly all their enjoyments, including health 
itself, depended. 

All the causes of this separation are not known. Well, 
I'm heartily glad of it. Yet I delight not in beholding vexa- 
tion and disappointment, even though the victims are the im- 
pertinently inquisitive. Still, I repeat, I'm most heartily 
glad of it 

That neither Mr. nor Mrs. Paine abused, or voluntarily 
even offended each other, is conclusive from the fact that Mr. 
Paine always spoke very respectfully and kindly of his wife ; 
and, says the veracious Clio Rickman, " frequently seat her 



PERIOD FIRST. 9 

money, without letting her know the source whence it came ;" 
and Mrs. Paine always held her husband in such high esteem, 
though she differed widely from him in the important and 
complicated matter of religion, that if any one spoke disre- 
spectfully of him in her presence, she deigned not a word of 
answer, but indignantly left the room, even though she were 
at table. If questioned on the subject of her separation from 
her marital partner, she did the same. Sensible woman. 

" Clio Rickman asserts, and the most intimate friends 01 
Mr. Paine support him," says Mr. Gilbert Vale in his excel- 
lent Life of Paine,* to which I here, once for all, acknowl- 
edge myself much indebted, " that Paine never cohabited with 
his second wife. Sherwin treats the subject as ridiculous ; 
but Clio Rickman was a man of integrity, and he asserts that 
he has the documents showing this strange point, together 
with others, proving that this arose from no physical defects 
in Paine." When the question was plainly put to Mr. Paine 
by a friend, instead of spitting in the questioner's face, or 
kicking him, he replied : "I had a cause ; it is no business 
of anybody." Oh, immortal Paine ! Did you know the feel- 
ings which the writing of the five last paragraphs has cost me, 
you would forgive ; ay, even pity me. 

And now, dear public, having, to please you, stepped aside 
from the path of legitimate history, permit me to continue 
the digression a little, in order to please myself. Surely you 
can afford some extra attention to one who has sacrificed his 
feelings, and, but for what I am now going to say, will have 
sacrificed his self-respect, even, for your accommodation. 

A large portion of the Christian world believes that the 
marriage tie, once formed, should continue till severed by 
death, or adultery. This is supposed to be, first, in accor- 
dance with scripture ; secondly, in accordance with the best 
interests of society. " What God hath joined, let not man 
put asunder," except for " cause of adultery," is the text in 
the first place, and the prevention of licentiousness, and regard 
for the interests of children, constitute the pretext in the 
eecond place. But society blindly jumps to the conclusion 
that the constantly varying decrees of legislative bodies desig- 
nate " what God hath joined," and that august body is equally 
uncritical with respect to what adultery, both according to 
scripture and common sense, means. When any joining be- 

* " This Life of Thomas Paine," by G. Vale, is published at the office 
of that most able advocate of free discussion, the " Boston Investigator." 



10 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

comes abhorent to the feelings which almighty power has im- 
planted in man, to attempt to force the continuance of such 
joining, under the plea of authority from such power, is most 
atrocious ; and " Jesus," or whoever spoke in his name, thus 
rationally defines adultery. "Whoso looketh on a woman to 
lust after her." " Jesus " did not. condemn the woman, who, 
under pressure of legal restriction, committed the " very act " 
of adultery ; but he did condemn her accusers, in the severest 
and most cutting manner possible. 

We have already shown the utter disregard which the 
supposed almighty father of Jesus showed for monogamic 
marriage ; that he did not even respect vested rights in the 
connection ; that he who is believed to have said, " be ye 
perfect even as I am perfect," trampled on the marital rules 
according to which the poor carpenter, Joseph, had been be- 
trothed to his Mary. 

How well the son of Mary followed in the footsteps of 
his " Almighty " father, we have already demonstrated ; and 
I shall close all I have to say on the supposed divinity of this 
subject, by calling the attention of the reader to the high re- 
spect which '' Jesus " paid to the woman who had had five 
husbands, and who was, at the time he did her the honor to 
converse with her in public, and to even expound his mission 
to her, cohabiting with a man to whom she was not married. 
Nothing in scripture is plainer, than that Jesus was such an 
out and out free-lover in principle, as to hold that as soon as 
married people looked on others than each other with lust- 
ful eyes, they were no longer so, legally ; but that their old 
connections should give place to new ones. In tne perfect 
state which " Jesus " in his parabolical language called 
" Heaven," he explicitly declared, in reference to what the 
old fogies of his time called marriage, "that they neither marry 
nor are given in marriage ;" and if " the Saviour " said this 
in reprobation of the comparatively slight bondage which en- 
cumbered marriage in Judea, eighteen hundred years ago, 
what would he say, were he to visit Christendom at the 
present time ? 

Wouldn't he make the " whip of small cords " with which 
he thrashed the money changers, whiz about the ears of 
those legislators and judges, who dare christen their tyranni- 
cal and abominable inventions marriage ! who have the au- 
dacity to attribute their wretched expedients and stupid blun- 
ders to eternal wisdom ? 

So much as to the scriptural view of marriage. For in- 



PERIOD FIRST. 11 

formation as to the effects of " legal marriage " in the cure of 
licentiousness, and in promoting the welfare of children, con- 
sult the records of prostitution, the alms-house registers, and 
the swarms of beggars, by which you are continually impor- 
tuned. As to the effect of the " holy bonds " on domestic feli- 
city, I verily believe that if they were suddenly and com- 
pletely severed, the dealers in arsenic who happened to have 
but little stock on hand, would bless their lucky stars. 

And I speak from a knowledge of the causes which either 
favorably or unfavorably affect the human organism, in say- 
ing, that it is perfectly certain, that if the unnatural tie which 
arrogates the name of marriage, was universally severed, sui- 
cide would diminish one half, idiocy and insanity would dis- 
appear, prolapsus uteri and hysteria would be almost un- 
known, the long catalogue of diseases consequent on hopeless 
despair, dreary ennui, and chronic fretfulness, would be shorn 
of nine tenths its present length, the makers of little shrouds 
and coffins would have little or nothing to do, and the busi- 
ness of abortionists would be ruined. In short, if matrimo- 
nial bondage was abolished, and our social structure reorgan- 
ized, so as to correspond with the change, the " broken spirit" 
that " drieth the bones," would so give place to " the merry 
heart, that doeth good like a medicine," that little of the 
doctor's medicine would be needed ; and human life would re- 
ceive an accession of at least twenty per cent, in length, and 
one hundred per cent, in value. 

But indissoluble marriage, and its correlates, adultery, 
fornication, prostitution, the unmentionable crime against 
nature, and masturbation, are part and parcel of the present 
imperfect condition of all things in man's connection ; of the 
remedy for which, I shall treat, when I come to consider the 
universality and thoroughness of the revolution in which 
Paine was, without but glimmeringly perceiving it, so efficient 
an actor. 

In 1774, Mr. Paine went again to London ; where, soon 
after his arrival, he made the acquaintance of Dr. Franklin, 
(then on an embassy to the British government, from one of her 
North American provinces,) who, perceiving in him abilities 
of no ordinary character, advised him to quit his native 
country, where he was surrounded by so many difficulties, and 
try his fortune in America ; he also gave him a letter of in- 
troduction to one of his most intimate friends in Philadelphia. 

Paine left England towards the end of the year 1774. 
and arrived in Philadelphia about t\vo months thereafter. 



PERIOD SECOND, 

17741787. 



MB. PAINE'S ARRIVAL IN AMERICA, TO HIS DEPARTURE 
FOR FRANCE ; EMBRACING HIS TRANSACTIONS IN THE 
AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Shortly after the arrival of Mr. Paine in America, he was 
engaged as editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, the publica- 
tion of which had just been commenced, by Mr. Aitkin, book- 
seller, of Philadelphia. This brought him acquainted with 
Dr. Rush. 

Up to this period, Paine had been a whig. But from the 
practical tone of much of his editorial, it is probable that he 
now began to suspect that that speculative abstraction, Brit- 
ish constitutionalism, had exhausted its usefulness in the 
economy of the social organism ; and that human progress 
could reach a higher plane than that, the foundations of which 
were a theological church establishment, and its correspond- 
ing hotch-potch of kings, lords, and commons. And here I 
will remark, that Paine's distinguishing characteristic the 
trait which constituted his greatness was his capability of 
being ahead of his time. Were he bodily present now, he 
would be as far in advance of the miserable sham of freedom 
to which the majorityism which he advocated, though pro- 
visionally necessary, has dwindled, as he was in advance of the 
governmental expedient, which reached the stage of effete- 
ness in his day. " The Crisis," instead of commencing with 
'' These are the times that try men's " souls," would begin 
with " These are the times that exhaust men's power of en- 
durance." Demagogism, with the whole power of the majority 
to enforce its tyranny, has declared that " to the victors be- 
long the spoils ;" that it has a right to bind the minority in 
all cases whatsoever. Its recklessness is in complete contrast 
with the regard which even Britain pays to the interests of 
her subjects ; and in taxation, and peculation in office, it out- 
does Austrian despotism itself." 



PERIOD SECOND 18 

" Majorityisin has carried its insolence so far as to des- 
pise nothing so much as the name and memory of him who 
risked his life, his honor, his all, to protect its infancy ; it 
has scornfully refused his portrait a place on the walls of the 
very hall which once rang with popular applause of the elo- 
quence, which his soul-stirring pleas for elective franchise in- 
spired." 

" Yes ; the city council of Philadelphia has, in 1859, in 
obedience to the commands of that public opinion, which was 
the court of last appeal, of him who first, on this continent, 
dared pronounce the words American Independence, refused 
his portrait a place by the side of his illustrious co-workers ; 
thus rebuking, and most impudently insulting Washington, 
who in an exstacy of admiration grasped the hand of the 
author of " Common Sense,"and invited him to share his 
table ; Franklin, who invited him to our shores ; Lafayette, 
to whom he was dearer than a brother ; Barlow, who pro- 
nounced him " one of the most benevolent and disinterested 
of mankind ;" Thomas Jefferson, who sent a government ship 
to reconduct him to our shores ; and all the friends of popu- 
lar suffrage in France, who, at the time that tried men's souls 
there, elected him to their national councils." 

" Like the Turkish despot, who cut off the head, and blot- 
ted out of existence the family, of his prime minister, to whom 
he owed the preservation of his throne, majorityism has 
crowded the name of its chief apostle almost out of the his- 
tory of its rise. " 

" Freedom of speech, particularly on religious subjects, and 
on the government's pet project, is a myth ; every seventh 
day, the freedom of action is restricted to going to church, 
dozing away the time in the house, taking a disreputable 
stroll, or venturing on a not strictly legal ride. We have 
nothing like the amount of individual freedom which is en- 
joyed by the men and women of imperially governed France; 
and notwithstanding the muzzling of the press by Louis Na- 
poleon, there could be published within the very shade of the 
TuiUeries,a truer and more liberal history of Democracy ar<l 
its leaders, and of American Independence, than any consider- 
able house, except the one from which this emanates, dare 
put forth, within the vast area over which the star-spangled 
banner waves. 

This is but a tithe of the despotism which public opinion, 
free to be formed by priests, and directed by demagogues, 
has inflicted : but a faint view of how abominably prostituted 



14 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

liberty must inevitably become, if unregulated by science, [f 
democracy has not exhausted all the good there was in it 
if majorityism has not become effete, and as obnoxious to 
progress as monarchy ever was in short, if what is now called 
liberty, is not slavery, there is not such a thing as slavery on 
the earth." 

At the close of the year 1775, when the American Revo- 
lution had progressed as far as the battles of Lexington and 
Bunker Hill, John Adams, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Frank- 
lin, and George Washington, had met together to read thf 
terrible dispatches they had received. Having done which 
they pause in gloom and silence. Presently Franklin speaks : 
" What," he asks, " is to be the end of all this ? Is it to 
obtain justice of Great Britain, to change the ministry, 

to soften a tax ? Or is it for" He paused ; the word 

independence yet choked the bravest throat that sought to 
utter it. 

At this critical moment, Paine enters. Franklin intro- 
duces him, and he takes his seat. He well knows the cause 
of the prevailing gloom, and breaks the deep silence thus : 
" These States of America must be independent of England. 
That is the only solution of this question !" They all rise to 
their feet at this political blasphemy. But. nothing daunted, he 
goes on ; his eye lights up with patriotic fire as he paints the 
glorious destiny which America, considering her vast resources, 
ought to achieve, and adjures them to lend their influence to 
rescue the Western Continent from the absurd, unnatural, 
and unprogressive predicament of being governed by a small 
island, three thousand miles off. Washington leaped forward, 
and taking both his hands, besought him to publish these 
views in a book. 

Paine went to his room, seized his pen, lost sight of every 
other object, toiled incessantly, and in December, 1775, the 
work entitled Common Sense, which caused the Declaration 
of Independence, and brought both people and their leaders 
face to face with the work they had to accomplish, was sent 
forth on its mission. " That book," says Dr. Rush, " burst 
forth from the press with an effect that has been rarely 
produced by types and paper, in any age or country." 

" Have you seen the pamphlet, Common Sense ?" asked 
Major General Lee, in a letter to Washington ; " I never saw 
such a masterly, irresistible performance. It will, if I mistake 
not, in concurrence with the transcendent folly and wicked- 
ness of the ministry, give the coup-de-grace to Great Britain 



PERIOD SECOND. 15 

In short, I own myself convinced by the arguments, of the 
necessity of separation." 

That idea of Independence the pen of Paine fed with fuel 
from his brain when it was growing dim. We cannot over- 
rate the electric power of that pen. At one time Washing- 
ton thought that his troops, disheartened, almost naked, and 
half starved, would entirely disband. But the Author-Hero 
of the Revolution was tracking their march and writing by 
the light of camp-fires the series of essays called The Crisis. 
And when the veterans who still clung to the glorious cause 
they had espoused were called together, these words broke 
forth upon them : " These are the times that try men's 
souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in 
this crisis, shrink from the service of his country ; but 
he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and 
woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered ; yet we 
have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the 
more glorious the triumph." 

" These are the times that try mens souls" was the watchword 
at the battle of Trenton, and Washington himself set the pen 
of Paine above any sword wielded that day. But we need 
not dwell on the fact of Paine's services and influence at this 
eventful period. He stood the acknowledged leader of 
American statemanship, and the soul of the American Revo- 
lution, by the proclamation of the Legislatures of all the 
States, and that of the Congress of the United States ; the 
tribute of his greatest enemy was in these words : " The can- 
non of Washington was not more formidable to the British 
than the pen of the author of Common Sense." A little 
less modesty, a little more preference of himself, to humanity, 
and a good deal more of what ought to be common sense on 
the part of the people he sought to free, and he would have 
been President of the United States ; and America, instead 
of France, would have had the merit of bestowing the highest 
honor on the most deserving of mankind. 

If Paine had been consulted to the extent he ought to have 
been, by those who modeled the republic he was so instru- 
mental in starting into existence, our social structure would 
have been so founded, that it might have lasted till super- 
seded by the immeasurably better one to which I shall 
presently allude, and to which, as I shall show, his measures 
aimed. It would not notv depend upon a base so uncertain 
that it has to be carefully shored up by such props as gibbets, 
prisons, alms houses, and soup-dispensing committees, in order 



16 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

to prevent its being sapped by the hunger-driven slaves of 
" free labor," nor would our Union be already in such danger 
of falling to pieces, that the cords which bind it together are 
as flimsy as cotton, and as rotten as are the souls of those 
who expose both their religious and their political opinions 
for sale as eagarly as they do their most damaged goods. 

On the 17th of April, 1777, Congress elected Mr. Paine 
secretary to the committee of foreign affairs. In this capa- 
city, he stood in the same relation to the committee that the 
English secretary for foreign affairs did to the cabinet ; and 
it was not from vanity, but in order to preserve the dignity 
of the new government under which he acted, that he claimed 
the title which was bestowed on the British minister, who 
performed a function corresponding to his own. 

" The Crisis " is contained in sixteen numbers ; to notice 
which, separately, would involve a history of the American 
Revolution itself. In fact, they comprise a truer history of 
that event than does any professed history of it yet written. 
They comprise the soul of it, of which every professed history 
is destitute. A disgrace which this country can never wipe 
out. 

In January, 1779, Paine resigned his secretaryship, in 
consequence of a misunderstanding which had tak'en place 
between him and congress, on account of one Silas Deane. 

In the early part of the war, it appears that Deane had 
been employed as an agent in France, for the purpose of ob- 
taining supplies, either as a loan from the French government, 
or, if he failed in this, to purchase them. But before enter- 
ing on the duties of his office, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee 
were added to the mission, and the three proceeded to Paris 
for the same purpose. The French monarch, more perhaps 
from his hostility to the English government, than from any 
attachment to the American cause, acceded to the request ; 
and the supplies were immediately furnished. As France 
was then upon amicable terms with England, a pledge was 
given by the American commissioners that the affair should 
remain a secret. The supplies were accordingly shipped in 
the name of a Mr. Beaumarchais, and consigned to an imagi- 
nary house in the United States. Deane, taking advantage 
of the secresy which had been promised, presented a claim for 
compensation in behalf of himself and Beaumarchais ; think 
ing that the auditing committee would prefer compliance to 
an exposure of their ally, the king of France, to a rupture with 
England. Mr. Paine, perceiving the trick, and knowing the 



PERIOD SECOND. 17 

circumstances of the case, resolved on laying the transaction 
before the public. He accordingly wrote for the newspapers 
several essays, under the title of " Common Sense to the Pub- 
lic on Mr. Deane's Affairs," in which he exposed the dis- 
honest designs of Deane. The business, in consequence, soon 
became a subject of general conversation : the demand was 
rejected by the auditing committee, and Deane soon afterward 
absconded to England. 

For this piece of service to the Americans, Paine was 
thanked and applauded by the people ; but by this time a 
party had begun to form itself, whose principles, if not the 
reverse of independence, were the reverse of republicanism. 
These men had long envied the popularity of Paine, but from 
their want of means to check or control it, they had hitherto 
remained silent. An opportunity was now offered for venting 
their spleen. Mr. Paine, in exposing the trickery of Deane, 
had incautiously mentioned one or two circumstances that 
had come to his knowledge in consequence of his office ; this 
was magnified into a breach of confidence, and a plan was 
immediately formed for depriving him of his situation ; accor- 
dingly, a motion was made for an order to bring him before 
congress. Mr. Paine readily attended ; and on being asked 
whether the articles in question were written by him, he re- 
plied that they were. He was then directed to withdraw. 
As soon as he had left the house, a member arose and moved : 
" That Thomas Paine be discharged from the office of secre- 
tary to the committee for foreign affairs ;" but the motion 
was lost upon a division. Mr. Paine then wrote to congress, 
requesting that he might be heard in his own defence, and 
Mr. Lawrence made a motion for that purpose, which was 
negatived. The next day he sent in his resignation, conclu- 
ding with these words : " As I cannot, consistently with my 
character as a freeman, submit to be censured unheard ; there- 
fore, to preserve that character and maintain that right, I 
think it my duty to resign the office of secretary to the com- 
mittee for foreign affairs ; and I do hereby resign the 
same." 

This conduct on the part of congress may, in some degree, 
be attributed to a desire to quiet the fears of the French am- 
bassador, who had become very dissatisfied in consequence 
of its being known to the world that the supplies were a 
present from his master. To silence his apprehensions, and 
preserve the friendship of the French court, they treated 
Paine with ingratitude. This they acknowledged at a future 



18 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

period by a grant ; of which I shall have occasion to speak 
in its proper place. 

Paine was now deprived of the means of obtaining a live- 
lihood ; and being averse to rendering his literary labors 
subservient to his personal wants, he engaged himself as 
clerk to Mr. Biddle, an attorney at Philadelphia. 

The ingratitude of congress produced no change in Mr. 
Paine's patriotism. On every occasion, he continued to dis- 
play the same degree of independence and resolution, which 
had first animated him in favor of the republican cause. He 
had enlisted himself as a volunteer in the American cause ; 
and he vindicated her rights under every change of circum- 
stance, with unabated ardor. 

In a communication made many years afterwards to 
Cheetham, (who would have contradicted it, could he have 
done so without stating what every one would immediately 
know to be false,) he says : 

" I served in the army the whole of the ' time that tried 
men's souls,' from the beginning to the end. 

Soon after the declaration of independence, July 4, 1776, 
congress recommended that a body of ten thousand men, to 
be called the flying camp, because it was to act wherever ne- 
cessary, should be formed from the militia and volunteers of 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. I went with one divi- 
sion from Pennsylvania, under General Roberdeau. We 
were stationed at Perth Amboy, and afterward at Bergen ; 
and when the time of the flying camp expired, and they went 
home, I went to Fort Lee, and served as aid-de-camp to 
Greene, who commanded at Fort Lee, and was with him 
through the whole of the black times of that trying cam- 
paign. 

I began the first number of the " Crisis," beginning with 
the well-known expression, ' These are the times that try 
men's souls', at Newark, upon the retreat from Fort Lee, and 
continued writing it at every place we stopped at, and had it 
printed at Philadelphia, the 19th of December, six days before 
the taking the Hessians at Trenton, which, with the affair at 
Princeton, the week after, put an end to the black times." 

Soon after the resignation of his secretaryship, he was 
chosen clerk of the legislature of Pennsylvania. This appoint- 
ment is a proof that, though he had some enemies, he had 
many friends; and that the malicious insinuations of the 
former had not been able to weaken the attachment of the 
latter. 



PERIOD SECOND. 19 

In February, 1781, Paine, at the earnest solicitation of 
Colonel Laurens, accompanied him to France, on a mission 
which the former had himself set on foot, which was, to ob- 
tain of the French government a loan of a million sterling 
annually during the war. This mission was so much. more 
successful tfcan they expected, that six millions of livres as a 
present, and ten millions as a loan, was the result. They 
sailed from Brest, at the beginning of June, and arrived at 
Boston in August, having under their charge two millions 
and a half in silver, and a ship and a brig laden with cloth- 
ing and military stores. 

Before going to France, as just narrated, Paine headed a 
private subscription list, with the sum of five hundred dollars, 
all the money he could raise ; and the nobleness of his con- 
duct so stimulated the munificence of others, that the sub- 
scriptions amounted to the generous sum of three hundred 
thousand pounds. 

Soon after the war of Independence had been brought to 
a successful termination, Mr. Paine returned to Bordentown, 
in New Jersey, where he had a small property. Washing- 
ton, rationally fearing that one so devoted and generous 
might be in circumstances not the most flourishing, wrote to 
him the following letter : 

ROCKY HILL, Sept. 10, 1783. 

I have learned, since I have been at this place, that you 
are at Bordentown. Whether for the sake of retirement or 
economy, I know not. Be it for either, for both, or what- 
ever it may, if you will come to this place and partake with 
me, I shall be exceedingly happy to see you at it. 

Your presence may remind congress of your past services 
to this country ; and if it is in my power to impress them, 
command my best exertions with freedom, as they will be 
rendered cheerfully by one who entertains a lively sense of 
the importance of your works, and who, with much pleasure, 
subscribes himself. 

Your sincere friend, 

G. Washington. 

In 1785, congress, on the report of a committee consisting 
of Mr. Gerry, Mr. Petit, and Mr. King, 

Resolved, That the board of treasury take order for pay- 
ing to Mr. Thomas Paine, the sum of three thousand dol- 
lars. 

This, however, was not a gratuity, although it took that 
shape. It was but little if any more than was due Mr. Paine, 



20 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

in consequence of the depreciation of the continental money 
in which his salary as secretary of the committee of foreign 
affairs had been paid. 

Mr. Paine had resolved not to make any application to 
the congress on the score of his literary labors ; but he had 
several friends in the provincial assemblies who were deter- 
mined that his exertions should not pass unrewarded. 
Through their influence, motions in his favor were brought 
before the legislature of Pennsylvania and the assembly of 
New York ; the former gave him 500, and the latter the 
confiscated estate of a Mr. Frederick Devoe, a royalist. This 
estate, situated at New Rochelle, consisting of more than 
three hundred acres of land in a high state of cultivation, 
with a spacious and elegant stone house, beside extensive out- 
buildings, was a valuable acquisition ; and the readiness with 
which it was granted, is a proof of the high estimation in 
which Mr. Paine's services were held by one of the most opu- 
lent and powerful states in the Union. 

In 1786, he published at Philadelphia, his " Dissertations 
on Government," "The Affairs of the Bank," and "Paper- 
Money." The bank alluded to was the one which had been 
established some years before, under the name of the " Bank 
of North America," on the capital of the three hundred thou- 
sand pounds, which resulted from the subscription which 
Paine headed with five hundred dollars, as has already been 
stated ; which bank, instead of being what banks now are, 
the stimulants of a gambling credit system, and a ruinous im- 
porting system, had been of vast use to the cause of our na- 
tional independence. Paine advocated a paper currency when 
it was of use, instead of being an abuse ; in his days it helped 
to secure national independence, instead of subjecting the 
country, as it now does, to a servitude to the interests of Eng- 
land, which could she have foreseen, it is questionable whether 
even British pride would not have so succumbed to British 
avarice, that not a gun would have been fired, or a sword 
drawn against us. England could have afforded to pay ua 
as many pounds for subjecting ourselves as we have done to 
her interests, as it cost her pennies to vainly attempt to pre- 
vent us from doing this. It is highly worthy of remark, that 
Paine opposed giving even the Independence promoting Bank 
of North America, a perpetual charter. 

At this time Mr. Paine was highly popular, and enjoyed 
the esteem and friendship of the most literary, scientific, and 
patriotic men of the age 



PERIOD THIRD, 

17871809. 



MB. PAINE GOES TO EUROPE. His REVOLUTIONARY MOVE- 
MENTS IN ENGLAND. Is ELECTED A MEMBER OF THE 
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF FRANCE. TAKES AN 
ACTIVE PART IN THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 
His DEATH, 

THE success which had crowned Mr. Paine's exertions in 
America, made him resolve to try the effects of his influence 
in the very citadel of the foes of liberal principles in govern- 
ment, whose out-posts he had stormed. As America no 
longer needed his aid, he resolved to attack the English 
government at home ; to free England herself. 

Accordingly, in April, 1787, he sailed from the United 
States for France, and arrived in Paris after a short passage. 
His knowledge of mechanics and natural philosophy had 
procured him the honor of being admitted a member of the 
American Philosophical society ; he was also admitted Mas- 
ter of Arts by the university of Philadelphia. These honors, 
though not of much consequence in themselves, were the 
means of introducing him to some of the most scientific men 
in France, and soon after his arrival he exhibited to the 
Academy of Sciences, the model of an iron bridge which had 
occupied much of his leisure time during his residence in 
America. This model received the unqualified approbation 
of the Academy, and it was afterwards adopted by the most 
scientific men of England. 

From Paris Mr. Paine proceeded to London, where he ar- 
rived on the third of September. Before the end of that 
month he went to Thetford to see his mother, who was now 
borne down by age, and was, besides, in very straightened 
circumstances. His father, it appears, had died during his 



22 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

absence ; and he hastened to the place of his birth to relieve 
the wants of his surviving parent. He led a recluse sort of 
life at Thetford for several weeks, being principally occupied 
in writing a pamphlet on the state of the nation, under the 
title of " Prospects on the Rubicon." This was published in 
London, toward the end of the year 1787. 

During the year 1788, Mr. Paine was principally occupied 
in building his bridge. For this purpose he went to Rother- 
ham in Yorkshire, in order that he might have an opportu- 
nity of superintending its iron castings. 

The situation of France had now become of great interest 
to all Europe, and Mr. Paine was in the confidence of the chief 
actors in the great events which were there taking place, and 
he hastened again to Paris to witness and assist in the* down- 
fall of Bourbon despotism ; to act his part in the great, drama 
of freedom, the scene of which had shifted from the land of 
Washington to the country of Lafayette. 

The French are peculiarly sensitive to the shafts of 
ridicule ; and Voltaire,* taking a wise advantage of this, had 
made such good use of his exquisite wit, that both priestcraft 
and statecraft had become rather absurd than respectable in the 
estimation of the higher orders of those who held both their 
wealth and their positions under such patronage. 

The writings of the Abbe Raynal had imbued the French 
with respect for the natural rights of humanity, and conse- 
quently with contempt and abhorrence for the vested rights 
of tyrants ; and the writings of that great apostle of liberty, 
Rousseau, had long been preparing the way, in France, for what 
those of Paine had effected in America ; in fact, Rousseau 
was the " author hero" of the French Revolution ; and it 
was more owing to his pen, than to anything else, that the 
views of the people of France so differed from these of their 
rulers, that, whilst the latter, in assisting America to throw 
off the British yoke, looked no further than the weakening 
and humiliating of England, the former approved of, and 
sustained the measure, as initiatory to the destruction of 
monarchy itself. 

The return from America of the troops of Lafayette had 
furnished a vast reinforcement to the popular cause, and in- 
fused its principles throughout all France. Mr. Paine 
remarks, that 

* That Encyclopedia of wit and wisdom, Voltaire's "Philosophies./ I/io- 
tionary,'' is published by Mr. J. P. Mendum, at the office of tne 
Investigator." 



PERIOD THIRD. 23 

" As it was impossible to separate the military events 
which took place in America from the principles of the 
American revolution, the publication of those events in France 
necessarily connected themselves with the principles that pro- 
duced them. Many of the facts were in themselves principles ; 
such as the Declaration of American Independence, and the 
treaty of alliance between France and America, which 
recognized the natural rights of man, and justified resistance 
to oppression." 

This is the proper place to show that neither Paine, Rous- 
seau, nor Voltaire are at all chargeable with the abomina- 
tions which have been perpetrated, both in America and 
France, in the name of liberty ; and that our " scurvy politi- 
cians " have no more business to spout their impudent clap- 
trap in the name of the principles advocated by the author of 
" The Rights of Man," than Marat, St. Just, and Robespierre, 
had to mouth Rousseau. Nothing is plainer, than that the 
two great moving minds in the American and French revolu- 
tions aimed at the practical actualization of liberty. 

Had Rousseau awoke from the dead at the time of the 
French Revolution, " What !" he would have exclaimed. 
" Do you take carnage to be what I meant by the state of na- 
ture?" "Miscreants!" Paine would thunder in the ears of 
our rulers, were he now to visit the land over which the star- 
spangled banner waves. " Is elective franchise to end in ma- 
jority-despotism and spoils? Do you thin^k I meant caucus 
trickery, election frauds, office gambling, corruption, in short, 
demagogism, when I said free government ? 

"Are my teachings to be estimated from the stand-point 
where 'tis difficult, if not impossible to determine whether 
* free laborers ' or ' slaves ' have the most uncomfortable 
time of it ? In the name of ' Common Sense,' I protest against 
your gross misrepresentation of me. The contemptible knave 
and fool game which you are playing in the name of liberty, 
is but the back step of the forward one towards freedom, 
which I helped mankind to take. 

Call you your miserable hotch-potch of spent supernatural- 
ism and worn out absolutism, what I meant by freedom ? 
You might as well call a rotting heap of building material?, 
which some architect, whose skill was far in advance of his 
time, had not lived long enough to put together accor'V.njf to 
his design, the edifice which he intended. 



24 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

"Ye infidels,* who meanly and hypocritically sneak for 
patronage under the shreds and tatters of the worn out cloak 
of the church, or who quit the ranks of superstition, only to 
wasie your energies over an. old book which I completely 
emasculated (but lived to discover that I had mistaken a 
prominent symptom for the disease I sought to cure ;) or to 
dispute and wrangle over mere speculative abstractions, or 
at most, to eat and drink and dance, and talk in memory of 
me, every twenty-ninth of January, when it does not fall on a 
Sunday. In calling on my name, and looking backward in 
unavailing admiration of what I did, instead of pushing 
ahead and carrying on the work which I began, you confer 
no more honor on me than modern Christians do on their 
" Jesus." You are no more like me, than papists and pro- 
testants are the true followers of the Pharisee-condemning, 
Sabbath-breaking son of the world-famous carpenter of 
Galilee. 

"My religion was ' to do good.' Yours has thus far been 
to do nothing or worse than nothing. 

"Why do you not organize, and have your own schools, in- 
stead of allowing your children to be supernaturalistically 
educated ? You allow the reasoning faculties of the scions 
of humanity to be completely maimed, and then blame nature 
because they are ' vicious ;' or, like idiots holding candles 
for the blind to read by, you ply them with reason, when they 
arrive at the age when they ought to be reasonable, but are 
confirmed in folly instead. Has the freedom of the people 
to chose their own teachers and head their own churches, 
culminated in schools, the very hot-beds of superstition, and 
in churches more intimately connected with, and more ex- 
pensive to the state, sub rosa, than the Catholic church openly 
is, even in Rome ? 

"Why do you not elevate woman, instead of letting your 
daughters grow up under the influence of the priests ? Why 
do you so stubbornly cling to that immaculate abortion ; that 
most pestiferous effluvia of supernaturalism ; that quintes- 
sence of malice ; that thickest fog that ever darkened the un- 
derstanding ; that strong-hold of all that is arbitrary ; that 
refinement of cruelty ; that last relic of absolutistic absurd- 
ity, moralism ? and why is its correlative, opinionism 

* I wish it to be particularly observed, that I give the term " infidels," 
a much more extended sense than that which it is popularly supposed to con- 
vey. 



PERIOD THIRD. 25 

still the basis of your political system ? Why are you, like 
your opponents, still appealing to that most fallible of all 
guides, conscience ? And in the name of all that is intelli- 
gible, what good is there in that chronic suicide which you 
outdo even supernaturalists in lauding as virtue ? Besides, 
has ' virtue,' notwithstanding all the pains taken with it, and 
all the hot-house fostering that that plant has received, grown 
a hair's breadth since the remotest ages ? 

" Why has not how to, long since superseded ought to ? 

"Abandon, I beseech you, that inflicter of martyrdom ; 
that watchword of Robespierre, and of the most relentless 
tyrants that ever tortured humanity, principle. Let the 
science and art of goodness take its place. 

"The severest and most persistent scourges of the human 
race are, and ever have been, men and women of principle. 
They cannot be even bribed to do right. Robespierre was 
par excellence, ' the incorruptible ;' and so was Marat. 

"Principle is the very bed of Procrustes. Principle is the 
disguise in which the ' angel of darkness ' appears so like 
an ' angel of light,' as to deceive, thus far, all but ' the very 
elect.' It partially deceived even me. But I had not your 
means of detecting the cheat. In my day it had not been, as 
it recently has been, demonstrated that man's will, aided by 
the force of all that is intelligible fully developed and har- 
moniously and most advantageously combined, is the meas- 
ure of his power, and of nature's resources ; that well doing, 
to any extent worth naming, requires nothing more, and 
nothing less, than such force, such development, and such com- 
bination ; that to progress, there is no obstruction, even to 
the unfriendliness of climate, which is not, through human art, 
working with, in, and through nature, removeable. 

"In my time, it had not been shown (as it recently has 
been, to a mathematical demonstration) that the only possi- 
ble way to make people good, is to create the requisite ma- 
terialistic conditions ; and that therefore the most stupid of 
blunders the most infernal of cruelties is punishment. 

"You affect to love science. Make it loveable. Raise it 
to the dignity of the highest law, or religion ; make it the 
basis of government ; and thus avail yourselves of its whole 
use, instead of the little benefit you derive from its ' beggarly 
elements.' 

"Patiently discover, instead of recklessly and vainly 'en- 
acting ' laws ; scientifically develop, and artistically combine 
the whole force of physical nature, and the whole power of 

a 



26 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE. 

man. Assist nature, whose head you are, to create, till supply 
is adequate to demand ; till creation is complete ; till har- 
mony is in exact proportion to present antagonism ; till no 
obstacle stands between man , and perfect goodness, perfect 
freedom, and perfect and sufficiently lasting happiness. 
Thus, alone, can you eliminate that synonym for ignorance, 
mystery and its resulting ' vice,' ' virtue/ moralism, abso- 
lutism, demagogism, slavery, and misery. 

" If you love, and would truly honor me, act forward, ac- 
cording to the spirit, and not backward, according to the kt- 
ter, of what I taught. Let onward to perfection, be your 
motto. 

"Your numbers are sufficient, as you would see if you would 
but stand out ; you are far from poor, on the average, and 
you include nearly all the learned and scientific ; but you are 
somehow or other so averse to organizing and becoming an 
efficient body, with a head, that like the mutually suspicious 
eighty-seven millions of Indians, to whom a few well regulated 
British troops dictate terms, you suffer your even half organ- 
ized foes to trample your rights under foot, when if you would 
organize on an intelligible, TRULY selfish, scientific and ar- 
tistic basis, your own rights, and those of all your fellow- 
men would be secured. Down with that barricade of hypo- 
crisy, principle. Liberty, goodness, in short, happiness, can 
be nothing less than the crowning art. 

''Instead of admitting, as you do, that nature ought to have 
a supernatural guardian or kelper, (inasmuch as you admit 
that she is incompetent to supply more than a tithe of the 
satisfaction which her wants, as manifested through her high- 
est organism, man call for,) why do you not meet the question, 
as it alone can be met, by demonstrating that man no more 
really wants or needs absolutely eternal self-consciousness, 
than the infant really wants or needs the moon for a bauble, 
when he stretches forth his hand to grasp it, and weeps at his 
failure. But that what man really does want, nature, through 
science, art, development, can give ? Can't you see that what 
man in reality means by perfect and ' eternal ' happiness, is, 
perfect and sufficiently-lasting happiness? and that nature 
must furnish this, or prove a failure which would amount to 
a greater absurdity, than ' supernaturalism } itself? Do you 
not see that for man to even desire any thing reaUy beyond 
nature, is to prove ' supernaturalism.' Mind, I have said de- 
sire ; for man cannot conceive of, and therefore cannot de- 
sire the annihilation of duration and space. He cannot really 



PERIOD THIRD. M 

wish for happiness without its conditions ; if it came merely 
at his bidding, if he could believe himself into Heaven, or 
vote himself free, both Heaven and freedom would pall on the 
appetite as soon as tasted. 

"Had I lived at the time when Humboldt scanned nature, 
when Feuerbach demonstrated the naturalness of ' supernatu- 
ralism,' and showed the all-importance and practiced signifi- 
cancy of man's instinctively inaugurating his abstract subject- 
ivity almighty, when Comte showed the connection, and 
proved the unity of all science, when Fourier discovered the 
equitable relations which should exist between labor, capital, 
and skill, and which, sooner or later, must displace the pres- 
ent unnatural and ruinous ones ; had I lived when it had 
been demonstrated that nature is all sufficient ; that science, 
art, development, well prove adequate to all the require- 
ments of miracle ; that the highest aspirations of nature's 
highest organism, man, indicate the perfection to which na- 
ture is spontaneously tending, and which she must attain to ; 
that the business of man is to discover how to fully gratify, 
aU the passions which nature has implanted in him ; (instead 
of trying to contrive how to mortify, repress, and overcome 
nearly all, and by far the best of them,) how to live, till he 
has rung, so to speak, all the changes possible on his five 
senses, till the repetition becomes irksome ; had I enjoyed 
the advantages derivable from all this, your steam engines, 
steam printing presses, sewing machines, and all other ma- 
chines, and your electric telegraph, even, should have had its 
match in social science and art ; you should, by this time, 
have had a religion self evidently true, and a system of law 
necessarily just ; and the whole world should have been far 
advanced towards becoming a state spontaneously free." 

Reader, considering how very far ahead of his time, it 
was the distinguishing characteristic of the author of the 
" Rights of Man" and " The Age of Reason" to be, is it too 
much to suppose that, were he alive now, he would talk thus, 
except far more eloquently, beyond all question? Would 
not he who made but two steps from the government of 
priests, kings and lords, to the people's right to be their own 
church and their own government, have found out, before 
now, the means of escaping from demagogism ? As one who 
is not prepared to admit that liberty is an empty name, that 
happiness at all answering to that which man desires, is an 
impractibility, I respectfully submit that he would. And I 
scorn the supposition that he would degrade himself, and the 



"28 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE, 

cause lie espoused, so far as to make the pitiable and lying 
excuse which the betrayers of mankind offer in behalf of 
" free institutions," that they are no worse than those, to 
escape from which, both earth and ocean have been reddened 
with human blood, and strewn with the ashes and the wrecks 
of human industry. Our " free institutions " have come to be 
so much worse than those confessedly despotic, that it is only 
the superior natural advantage, which our country enjoys, 
that has thus far preserved even their name. 

The proper or natural functions of popularism are but 
transitional. The instant it is undertaken to erect democracy 
into a permanency, it dwindles to a most pitiable imitation 
to a blundering re-enacting, under false names, of the worn 
out measures of the religion and politics, from which it is le- 
gitimately but a protest and a departure. It thus becomes so 
exceedingly corrupt and morbific, that the social organism, 
to protect itself from utter dissolution, is forced to reject it, 
and return again under its old regime. And nothing short 
of the religion and government of science can furnish an out- 
let from this vicious circle. 

Mr. Paine again left France for England, in Nov. 1790, 
having witnessed the destruction of the Bastile, and been an 
attentive observer, if not an active adviser, of the revolution- 
ary proceedings which had taken place during the preceding 
twelve months. 

On the 13th of March, 1791, Mr. Jordan, No. 166 Fleet- 
street, published for him the first part of " The Rights of 
Man." This work was intended to arouse the people of Eng- 
land to a sense of the defects and abuses of their vaunted 
system of government ; besides which, it was a masterly re- 
futation of the falsehoods and exaggerations of Edmund 
Burke's celebrated "Reflections on The Revolution in 
France." 

About the middle of May, Mr. Paine again went to 
France. This was just before the king attempted to escape 
from his own dominions. On the occasion of the return of the 
fugitive monarch, Mr. Paine was, from an accidental circum- 
stance, in considerable danger of losing his life. An immense 
concourse of people had assembled to witness the event. 
Among the crowd was Mr. Paine. An officer proclaimed 
the order of the national assembly, that all should be silent 
and covered. In an instant all except Mr. Paine, put on 
their hats. He had lost his cockade, the emblem of liberty 
and equality. The multitude observing that he remained 



PERIOD THIRD. 29 

uncovered, supposed that he was one of their enemies, and a 
cry instantly arose, " Aristocrat ! Aristocrat t a la lanteme ! 
a la lanterne /" He was instructed by those who stood near 
him to put on his hat, but it was some time before the matter 
could be satisfactorily explained to the multitude. 

On the 13th of July, 1791, he returned to London, but 
it was not thought prudent that he should attend the public 
celebration of the French revolution, which was to take place 
on the following day. He was however, present at the meet- 
ing which was held at the Thatched-House tavern, on the 
twentieth of August following. Of the address and declara- 
tion which issued from this meeting, and which was at first 
attributed to Mr. Horn Tooke, Mr. Paine was the author. 

Mr. Paine was now engaged in preparing the second part 
of the ''Rights of Man" for the press. In the mean time the 
ministry had received information that the work would 
shortly appear, and they resolved to get it suppressed if pos- 
sible. Having ascertained the name of the printer, they 
employed him to endeavor to purchase the copyright. He 
began by offering a hundred guineas, then five hundred, and 
at length a thousand ; but Mr. Paine told him, that he "would 
never put it in the power of any printer or publisher to 
suppress or alter a work of his." 

Finding that Mr. Paine was not to be bribed, the ministry 
next attempted to suppress the work by means of prosecutions ; 
but even in this they succeeded so badly, that the second part 
of the " Rights of Man" was published on the sixteenth ol 
February, 1792, and -at a moderate calculation, more than a 
hundred thousand copies of the work were circulated. 

In August, 1792, Paine prepared a publication in defense 
of the " Rights of Man," and of his motives in writing it ; he 
entitled it " An Address to the Addressers on the late Proc- 
lamation." " This," says Sherwin, " is one of the severest 
pieces of satire that ever issued from the press." 

About the middle of September, 1792, a French deputa- 
tion announced to Mr. Paine that he had been elected to re- 
present the department of Calais in the National Convention. 

At Dover, whither he repaired, in order to embark for 
France, the treatment of the minions of British despotism 
towards the hated author of the " Rights of Man," was dis- 
graceful and mean to the last degree. Plis trunks were all 
opened, and the contents examined. Some of his papers were 
seized, and it is probable that the whole would have been 
but for the cool and steady conduct of their owner and hia 



30 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

attendants. When the custom-house officers had indulged their 
petty malice as long as they thought proper, Mr. Paine and hia 
friends were allowed to embark, and they arrived at Calais in 
about three hours. The English-French representative, how- 
ever, very narrowly escaped the vigilance of the despots he had 
provoked, for it appears that an order to detain him was re- 
ceived at Dover, in about twenty minutes after his embarkation. 

A salute from the battery announced to the people of 
Calais the arrival of the distinguished foreigner, on whom 
they had bestowed an honor unprecedented. 

His reception, both military and civic, was what a mon- 
arch might well have been proud of. " The garrison at 
Calais were under arms to receive this friend of liberty ; the 
tri-colored cockade was presented to him by the mayor, and 
the handsomest woman in the town was selected to place it 
on his hat."* 

This ceremony being over, he walked to Deissein's in the 
Hue, de VEgalite (formerly Rue dc fioi), the men, women, and 
children, crowding around- him, and shouting" Vive Thomas 
Paine !'*' He was then conducted to the town-hall, and there 
presented to the municipality, who with the greatest affection 
embraced their representative. The mayor addressed him in 
a short speech (which was interpreted to him by his friend 
M. Audibert), to which Mr. Paine, laying his hand on his 
heart, replied, that his life should be devoted to their service. 

At the inn he was waited upon by the authorities, and by 
the president of the Constitutional society, who desired that 
he would attend their meeting that night : he cheerfully com- 
plied with the request, and the whole town would have been 
there., had there been room : the hall of the Hinimes was so 
crowded that it was with the greatest difficulty they made way 
for Mr. Paine to the side of the president. Over the chair in 
which he sat were placed the bust of Mirabeau, and the colors of 
France, England, and America united. A speaker from the 
tribune, formally announced his election, amid the plaudits of 
the people ; for some minutes after nothing was heard but 

* The least unfair view of Thomas Paine's character and merits which 
has hitherto been found in the -'historical writings of any American author 
except Randall, Savage, and Vale, (who quotes copiously from Sherwin), 
is taken by an ecclesiastic, Francis L. Hawkes, D.D., L.L.D. His " Cy- 
clopedia of Biography," from which 1 have quoted above, is published by 
the Messrs. D. Appleton & Co., who also publish Buckle's" History of 
Civilization in England ;" a work which would have fully satisfied the author 
of the " Age of Reason" himself, had he lived to read it. 



PERIOD THIRD 31 

" Five la Nation I Vive Thomas Paine," in voices both male 
and female. 

On the following day an extra meeting was appointed to 
be held in the church in honor of the new deputy to the con- 
vention, the Minimes having been found quite suffocating, 
from the vast concourse of people which had assembled, on 
the previous occasion. At the theatre, on the evening after 
his arrival, a box was specially reserved for the author of the 
" Rights of Man," the object of the English proclamation. 

Such was the enthusiasm of the people for the " author- 
hero" of the American Revolution, that Mr. Paine was also 
elected deputy for Abbeville, Beauvais, and Versailles ; but 
the people of Calais having been beforehand in their choice, 
he preferred being their representative. 

After remaining with his constituents a short time, he 
proceeded to Paris, in order to take his seat as a member of 
the National Assembly. On the road thither he met with 
similar honors to those which he had received at Calais. As 
soon as he arrived at Paris, he addressed a letter to his fel- 
low-citizens, the people of Prance, thanking th^m for both 
adopting and electing him as their deputy to the convention. 

Mr. Paine was shortly after his arrival in Paris, appointed 
a member of the committee for framing the new constitution. 
While he was performing the important duties of his station, 
the ministry of England were using every effort to counteract 
the (to them) dangerous principles which he had disseminated. 
For this purpose ttiey filed informations. against the different 
individuals who had sold the "Rights of Man," and also 
against the author. The trial of Mr. Paine came on at 
Guildhall, on the 18th of December, before that most cruel 
and vindictive of creatures that ever disgraced the bench of 
even a British court of justice, Lord Kenyon. As the judge 
was pensioned, and the jury packed, a verdict of guilty follow- 
ed as a matter of course. 

Mr. Erskine's plea for the defence was, as Mr. Paine 
observed, on reading a report of the farce which had been 
enacted under the name of a trial, " a good speech for himself 
but a very poor defence of the " Rights of Man"* 

Seldom has the cowardice which a sense of guilt excites, 
reached such a panic as that into which the government of 

* " Paine's work," [the " Rights of Man,"] says Schlosser, in bis " History of 
The Eighteenth Century," " made as great and as lasting an impression on 
certain classes in England as Burke's did upon the great majority of tin.* 
higher and middle ranks." 



32 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

England was thrown by Thomas Paine. In France h v was 
safe from their malice, but no less than ten individuals were 
prosecuted for selling his works, and by corrupted judges and 
packed juries, nine of the number were convicted, and severely 
fined or imprisoned, or both. 

"On the first appearance of the ' Rights of Man,"'' say? 
Sherwin, the ministry saw that it inculcated truths which they 
could not controvert; that it contained plans, which, if 
adopted, would benefit at least nine tenths of the community, 
and that its principles were the reverse of the existing sys- 
tem of government ; they therefore judged that the most 
politic method would be to treat the work with contempt, 
to represent it as a foolish and insignificant performance, 
unworthy of their notice, and undeserving the attention 
of the public. But they soon found the inefficiency of this 
mode of treatment ; the more contempt they showed, the 
more the book was read, and approved of. Finding, there- 
fore, that their declarations of contempt were as unsuccessful 
as their project of buying up the work, they determined upon 
prosecuting the author and publisher. Mr. Paine was not at 
all surprised at this resolution of the ministry ; indeed, 
he had anticipated it on the publication of the second part 
of the work, and to remove any doubt as to his intention of 
defending the principles which he had so effectually incul- 
cated, he addressed the following letter to his publisher : 

FEBKUARY 16, 1792. 

SIR : Should any person, under the sanction of any kind of 
authority, inquire of you respecting the author and publisher 
of the " Rights of Man," you will please to mention me as the 
author and publisher of that work, and show to such person 
this letter. I will, as soon as I am made acquainted with it, 
appear and answer for the work personally. 

Your humble servant, 

THOMAS PAINE. 

MR. JORDAN, 
No. 166 Fleet Street. 

" The first intimation which Mr. Paine received," continues 
Sherwin, " of the intentions of the ministry, was on the 14th 
of May, 1792. He was then at Bromly, in Kent, upon which 
lie came immediately to town ; on his arrival he found that 
Mr. Jordan had that evening been served with a summons to 
appear at the court of King's Bench on the Monday following, 
but for what purpose was not stated. Conceiving it to be on 



PERIOD THIRD. 33 

account of the work, he appointed a meeting with Mr. Jordan, 
on the next morning, when he provided a solicitor, and took 
the expense of the defense on himself. But Mr. Jordan, 
it appears, had too much regard for his person to hazard its 
safety on the event of a prosecution, and he compromised the 
affair with a solicitor of the treasury, by agreeing to appear 
in court and plead guilty. This arrangement answered the 
purpose of both parties That of Jordan in liberating himself 
from the risk of a prosecution, and that of the ministry, since 
his plea of guilty amounted in some measure to a condemna- 
tion of the work." 

The following letter from Mr. Paine to the Attorney-Gen- 
eral, Sir Archibald Macdonald, shows, that but for the circum- 
stance of his being called to France, as just related, it was 
his intention to have formally defended himself in the 
prosecution against him as author of the " Rights of Man." 

" SIR : Though I have some reason for believing that you 
were not the original promoter or encourager of the prosecu- 
tion commenced against the work entitled " Rights of Man," 
either as that prosecution is intended to affect the author, the 
publisher, or the public ; yet as you appear the official person 
therein, I address this letter to you, not as Sir Archibald 
Macdonald, but as attorney-general. 

You began by a prosecution against the publisher, Jordan, 
and the reason assigned by Mr. Secretary Dundas, in the 
house of commons, in the debate on the proclamation, May 25, 
for taking that measure, was, he said, because Mr. Paine 
could not be found, or words to that effect. Mr. Paine, sir, 
so far from secreting himself, never went a step out of 
his way, nor in the least instance varied from his usual 
conduct, to avoid any measure you might choose to adopt 
with respect to him. It is on the purity of his heart, and the 
universal utility of the principles and plans which his writings 
contain, that he rests the issue ; and he will not dishonor it 
by any kind of subterfuge. The apartments which he occu- 
pied at the time of writing the work last winter, he has con- 
tinued to occupy to the present hour, and the solicitors of the 
prosecution know where to find him ; of which there is 
a proof in their own office as far back as the 21st of May, 
and also in the office of my own attorney. 

But admitting, for the sake of the case, that the reason 
for proceeding against the publisher was, as Mr. Dundas 
stated, that Mr. Paine could not be found, that reason can 
now exist no longer. 



34 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

The instant that I was informed that an information was 
preparing to be filed against ine, as the author of, I believe, 
one of the most useful books ever offered to mankind, I 
directed my attorney to put in an appearance ; and as I 
shall meet the prosecution fully and fairly, and with a good 
and upright conscience, I have a right to expect that no act 
of littleness, will be made use of on the part of the prosecu- 
tion toward influencing the future issue with respect to the 
author. This expression may, perhaps, appear obscure to 
you , but I am in the possession of some matters which serve 
to show that the action against the publisher is not intended 
to be a real action. If, therefore, any persons concerned in 
the prosecution have found their cause so weak as to make it 
appear convenient to them to enter into a negotiation with 
the publisher, whether for the purpose of his submitting to a 
verdict, and to make use of the verdict so obtained as a cir- 
cumstance, by way of precedent, on a future trial against my- 
self ; or for any other purpose not fully made known to me ; 
if, I say, I have cause to suspect this to be the case, I shall 
most certainly -withdraw the defence I should otherwise have 
made, or promoted, on his (the publisher's) behalf, and leave 
the negotiators to themselves, and shall reserve the whole 
of the defence for the real trial. 

But, sir, for the purpose of conducting this matter with at 
least that appearance of fairness and openness that shall just- 
ify itself before the public whose cause it really is (for it is 
the right of public discussion and investigation that is 
questioned), I have to propose to you to cease the prosecu- 
tion against the publisher ; and as the reason or pretext can 
no longer exist for continuing it against him because Mr. 
Paine could not be found, that you would direct the whole 
process against me, with whom the prosecuting party will not 
find it possible to enter into any private negotiation. 

I will do the cause full justice, as well for the sake of the 
nation, as for my own reputation. 

Another reason for discontinuing the process against the 
publisher is, because it can amount to nothing. First, be- 
cause a jury in London cannot decide upon the fact of 
publishing beyond the limits of the jurisdiction of London, 
and therefore the work may be republished over and over again 
in every county in the nation and every case must have 
a separate process ; and by the time that three or four hun- 
dred prosecutions have been had, the eyes of the nation will 
then be fully open to see that the work in question contains 



PERIOD THIRD. 35 

a plan the best calculated to root out all the abuses of govern- 
ment, and to lessen the taxes of the nation upwards of six 
millions annually. 

Secondly, because though the gentlemen of London may 
be very expert in understanding their particular professions 
and occupations, and how to make business contracts with 
government beneficial to themselves as individuals, the rest 
of the nation may not be disposed to consider them sufficiently 
qualified nor authorized to determine for the whole nation 
on plans of reform, and on systems and principles of govern- 
ment. This would be in effect to erect a jury into a national 
convention, instead of electing a convention, and to lay a 
precedent for the probable tyranny of juries, under the pre- 
tence of supporting their rights. 

That the possibility always exists of packing juries will 
not be denied ; and, therefore, in all cases where government 
is the prosecutor, more especially in those where the right of 
public discussion and investigation of principles and systems 
of government is attempted to be suppressed by a verdict, or 
in those where the object ol the work that is prosecuted is 
the reform of abuse and the abolition of sinecure places and 
pensions, in all these cases the verdict of a jury will itself 
become a subject of discussion ; and therefore, it furnishes an 
additional reason for discontinuing the prosecution against 
the publisher, more especially as it is not a secret that there 
has been a negotiation with him for secret purposes, and for 
proceeding against me only. I shall make a much stronger 
defence than what I believe the treasury solicitor's agreement 
with him will permit him to do. 

I believe that Mr. Burke, finding himself defeated, and not 
being able to make any answer to the " Rights of Man," has 
been one of the promoters of this prosecution ; and I shall 
return the compliment to him by showing, in a future publi- 
cation, that he has been a masked pensioner at fifteen hundred 
pounds per annum for about ten years. 

Thus it is that the public money is wasted, and the dread 
of public investigation is produced. 

I am, sir, 

Your obedient humble servant, 
THOMAS PAINB. 

SIR A MACDONALD, Attorney-General. 

On the 25th of July, 1792, the Duke of Brunswick issued 



36 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

his sanguinary manifesto, in which he declared that the allies 
were resolved to inflict the most dreadful punishments on the 
national assembly, for their treatment of the royal family ; 
he even went so far as to threaten to give up Paris to mili- 
tary execution. This made the people furious, and drove 
them to deeds of desperation. A party was consequently 
formed in the convention for putting the king to death. Mr. 
Paine labored hard to prevent matters from being carried to 
this extremity, but though his efforts produced a few converts 
to his doctrine, the majority of his colleagues were too en- 
raged at the duplicity of the king, and the detestable conduct 
of the foreign monarchs, with whom he was leagued, to be 
satisfied with anything short of the most dreadful vengeance. 
The conduct of Louis was too reprehensible to be passed over 
unnoticed, and Mr. Paine therefore voted that he should be 
tried ; but when the question whether he should be put to 
death, was brought forward, he opposed it by every argu- 
ment in his power. His exertions were, however, ineffectual, 
and sentence of death was passed, though by a very small ma- 
jority. Mr. Paine lost no opportunity of protesting against 
this extreme measure ; when the question, whether the sen- 
tence should be carried into execution, was discussed, he 
combated the proposition with great energy. As he was not 
well versed in the French language, he wrote or spoke in Eng- 
lish, which one of the secretaries translated. 

It is evident that his reasoning was thought very persua- 
sive, since those who had heard the speeches of Buzot, Con- 
dorcet, and Brissot, on the same side of the question, without 
interruption, broke out in murmurs, while Paine's opinion 
was being translated ; and Marat, at length, losing all pa- 
tience, exclaimed that Paine was a quaker, whose mind was 
so contracted by the narrow principles of his religion, that 
he was incapable of the liberality that was requisite for con- 
demning men to death. This shrewd argument not being 
thought convincing, the secretary continued to read, that ' the 
execution of the sentence, instead of an act of justice, would 
appear to all the world, and particularly to their allies, the 
American States, as an act of vengeance, and that if he were 
sufficiently master of the French language, he would, in the 
name of his brethren of America, present a petition at their 
bar against the execution of the sentence.' Marat and his 
associates said that these could not possibly be the sentiments 
of Thomas Paine, and that the assembly was imposed upon 



PERIOD THIRD. 37 

by a false translation. On comparing it with the original, 
however, it was found to be correct. 

The only practical effect of Paine's leniency to the king 
was that of rendering himself an object of hatred among the 
most violent and now dominant actors in the revolution. 
They found that he could not be induced to participate in 
tlioir acts of cruelty ; they dreaded the opposition which he 
might make to their sanguinary deeds, and they therefore 
marked him out as a victim to be sacrificed the first oppor- 
tunity. 

The humanity of Mr. Paine was, indeed, one of the most 
prominent features in his character, and he exercised it, 
whether on public or private occasions. Of his strict atten- 
tion to his public duty in this respect, even at the hazard of 
his own safety, we have just seen a convincing proof in his 
opposition to the execution of the king ; and of his humane 
and charitable disposition in private matters, the following 
circumstances are sufficient to warrant the most unqualified 
conclusion. 

Mr. Paine was dining one day with about twenty friends, 
at a coffee-house in the Palais Egalite, now the Palais Royal, 
when, unfortunately for the harmony of the company, a cap- 
tain in the English service contrived to introduce himself. 
The military gentleman was a strenuous supporter of the 
English system of government, and of course, a decided enemy 
of the French Revolution. After the cloth was removed, the 
conversation turned on the state of affairs in England, and 
the means which had been adopted by the government to 
check political knowledge. Mr. Paine gave his opinion very 
freely, and much to the satisfaction of every one present, ex- 
cept Captain Grimstone, who finding himself cornered, 
answered his arguments by calling him a traitor to his coun- 
try, and applying to him other terms equally opprobious. 
Mr. Paine treated his abuse with much good humor, which 
rendered the captain so furious, that he struck him a violent 
blow. But the cowardice of this behavior on the part of a 
Btout young man, toward a person upward of sixty years of 
age, was not the worst part of the affair. The captain Lad 
struck a citizen deputy of the convention, which was an in- 
sult to the whole nation ; the offender was hurried into cus- 
tody, and it was with the greatest difficulty that Mr. Paine 
prevented him from being massacred on the spot. 

The convention had decreed the punishment of death to 
any one who should be convicted of striking a deputy : Mr. 



38 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

Paine was therefore placed in a very unpleasant situation. 
He immediately applied to Barrere, president of the commit- 
tee of public safety, for a passport for his imprudent adver- 
sary. His request being, after much hesitation, complied 
with, he still had considerable difficulty in procuring his lib- 
eration ; but even this was not all of which the nobility of 
his nature was capable. The captain was without friends, 
and penniless ; and Mr. Paine generously supplied him with 
money to defray his travelling expenses, home to England. 

A Major Munroe, who lodged at the same hotel with Mr, 
Paine, and whose business it was to inform Pitt and the min- 
istry of England, of what was going on in France, remaining 
after the war was declared, was thrown into prison. He 
applied to Mr. Paine, who, by great exertion, procured his 
release. 

The reign of terror had now fairly begun, and Mr. Paine's 
humane disposition conspicuously marked him for one of its 
victims. 

In allusion to the dreadful proceedings which were making 
such havoc among the best patriots of Prance, he says : 

" As for myself, I used to find some relief by walking alone 
in the garden after it was dark, and cursing with hearty good 
will the authors of that terrible system that had turned the 
character of the revolution I had been proud to defend. 

"I went but little to the convention, and then only to make 
my appearance ; because I found it impossible for me to join 
in their tremendous decrees, and useless and dangerous to 
oppose them. My having voted and spoken extensively, more 
so than any other member, against the execution of the king, 
had already fixed a mark upon me : neither dared any of my 
associates in the convention to translate, and speak in French 
for me anything I might have dared to write. Pen and ink 
were then of no use to me. No good could be done by 
writing, and no printer dared to print ; and whatever I 
might have written for my private amusement, as anecdotes 
of the times, would have been continually exposed to be ex- 
amined, and tortured into any meaning that the rage of party 
might fix upon it ; and as to softer subjects, my heart was in 
distress at the fate of my friends, and my harp was hung 
upon the weeping willows." 

But the gentle, conciliating, and open manner of Mr. 
Paine rendered it impossible to impeach his political conduct, 
and this was the reason why he remained so long at liberty. 
The first attempt that was made against him, was by means 



PERIOD THIRD. 39 

of an act of the convention, which decreed that all persons 
residing in France, who were born in England, should be 
imprisoned ; but as Mr. Paine was a member of the conven- 
tion, and had been adopted a "citizen of France "the decree 
did not extend to him. A motion was afterward made by 
Bourdon de 1'Oise, for expelling all foreigners from the con- 
vention. It was evident from the speech of the mover, that 
Mr. Paine was the principal object aimed at, and as soon as 
the expulsion was effected, an application was made to the 
two committees of public safety, of which Robespierre was 
the dictator, and he was immediately arrested under the for- 
mer decree for imprisoning persons born in England. On 
his way to the Luxembourg, he contrived to call upon his in- 
timate friend and associate, Joel Barlow, with whom he left 
the manuscript of the first part of the "Age of Reason." 
This work he intended to be the last of his life, but the pro- 
ceedings in France, during the year 1793, induced him to de- 
lay it no longer. 

At the time when the " Age of Reason " was written, 
Mr. Paine was in daily expectation of being sent to the 
guillotine, where many of his friends had already perished ; 
the doctrines, therefore, which it inculcates, must be regarded 
as the sentiments of a dying man. This is a conclusive proof 
that the work was not the result of a wish to deceive. Mr. 
Paine had measured his time with such precision, that he had 
not finished the book more than six hours, before he was ar- 
rested and conveyed to the Luxembourg. 

Had such a singularly favorable coincidence as this hap- 
pened in the transactions of a Christian theological writer, 
it would undoubtedly have been ascribed to the interposition 
of Divine Providence. 

After Mr. Paine had remained in prison about three weeks, 
the Americans residing in Paris, went in a body to the con- 
vention and demanded the liberation of their fellow-citizen. 
The following is a copy of the address presented by them to 
the president of the convention ; an address which sufficiently 
shows the high estimation in which Mr. Paine was at thia 
time held by the citizens of the United States : 

"Citizens! The French nation had invited the most 
illustrious of all foreign nations to the honor of representing 
her. 

Thomas Paine, the apostle of liberty in America, a pro- 
found and valuable philosopher, a virtuous and esteemed oiti 
oen, came to France and took a seat among you. Particular 



40 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

circumstances rendered necessary the decree to put under ar- 
rest all the English residing in France. 

"Citizens ! Representatives ! We come to demand of you 
Thomas Paine, in the name of the friends of liberty, and in 
the name of the Americans, your brothers and allies ; was 
there anything more wanted to obtain our demand we would 
tell you. Do not give to the leagued despots the pleasure of 
seeing Paine in irons. We inform you that the seals put 
upon the papers of Thomas Paine have been taken off, that 
the committee of general safety examined them, and far from 
finding among them any dangerous propositions, they only 
found the love of liberty which characterized him all his life- 
time, that eloquence of nature and philosophy which made 
him the friend of mankind, and those principles of public 
morality which merited the hatred of kings, and the affection 
of his fellow-citizens. 

"In short, citizens! if you permit us to restore Thomas 
Paine to the embraces of his fellow-citizens, we offer to pledge 
ourselves as securities for his conduct during the short time 
he shall remain in France." 

The Americans who presented the foregoing address, re- 
ceived for answer, that ' Mr. Paine was born in England/ 
and it was also hinted to them that their attempt to reclaim 
him as a citizen of the United States, conld not be listened 
to, in consequence of its not being authorized by the American 
government. 

I wish the reader to particularly note what I have here 
italicised, as I shall hereafter refer to it in a very important 
connection. 

Soon after this, all communication between the prisoners 
and their friends was cut off, by an order of the police ; and 
the only hope that during six months, remained to Mr. Paine, 
was, that the American minister would be authorized to in- 
quire into the cause of his imprisonment. ' But even this 
hope,' Mr. Paine observes, ' in the state in which matters were 
daily arriving, was too remote to have any consolatory effect ; 
and I contented myself with the thought that I might be re- 
membered when it would be too late.' 

During this long imprisonment he amused himself by 
writing a variety of pieces, both in poetry and prose, some 
of which have since been published. He also wrote a con- 
siderable portion of the second part of the ' Age of Reason.' 

When he had been in prison about eight months, he was 
seized with a violent fever, which nearly deprived him of 



PERIOD THIRD. 41 

life, and from the effects of which he never perfectly re- 
covered. This fever, which rendered him insensible for more 
than a month, was, however, the means of preserving his life ; 
for had he remained in health, he would no doubt have been 
dragged before the tribunal, and sent to the guillotine. 

After the fall of Robespierre, Mr. Paine, seeing several 
of his fellow-prisoners set at liberty, began to conceive hopes 
of his own release, and addressed a memorial to Mr. Monroe, 
the American minister, on the subject. 

The following is a copy of Mr. Monroe's letter to Mr. 
Paine on this occasion : 

PARIS, September 18, 1794. 
" DEAR SIR : 

I was favored, soon after my arrival here, with several 
letters from you, and more latterly \* ith one in the character 
of a memorial upon the subject of your confinement : and 
should have answered them at the times they were respec- 
tively written, had I not concluded, you would have calcula- 
ted with certainty upon the deep interest I take in your wel- 
fare, and the pleasure with which I shall embrace every op- 
portunity in my power to serve you. I should still pursue 
the same course, and for reasons which must obviously occur, 
if I did not find that you are disquieted with apprehensions 
upon interesting points, and which justice to you and our 
country equally forbid you should entertain. You mention 
that you have been informed you are not considered as an 
American citizen by the Americans, and that you have like- 
wise heard that I had no instructions respecting you by the 
government. I doubt not the person who gave you the infor- 
mation meant well, but I suspect he did not even convey 
accurately his own ideas on the first point : for I presume the 
most he could say is, that you had likewise become a French 
citizen, and which by no means deprives you of being an 
American one. Even this, however, may be doubted, I mean 
the acquisition of citizenship in France, and I confess you 
have said much to show that it has not been made. I really 
suspect that this was all that the gentleman who wrote to you, 
and those Americans he heard speak upon the subject, meant. 
It becomes my duty, however, to declare to you, that I con- 
sider you as an American citizen, and that you are considered 
universally in that character by the people of America. As 
such you are entitled to my attention ; and so far as it can be 
given, consistently with those obligations which are mutual 



42 LIFE OF THOMAS PAIAJS. 

between every government and even transient passengers, you 
shall receive it. 

The congress have never decided upon the subject of citizen- 
ship, in a manner to regard the present case. By being with 
us through the revolution, you are of our country as abso- 
lutely as if you had been born there, and you are no more of 
England than every native American is. This is the true 
doctrine in the present case, so far as it becomes complicated 
with any other consideration. I have mentioned it to make 
you easy upon the only point which could give you any dis- 
quietude. 

It is necessary for me to tell you, how much all your coun- 
trymen I speak of the great mass of the people are inter- 
ested in your welfare. They have not forgotten the history 
of their own revolution, and the difficult scenes through which 
they passed ; nor do they review its several stages without 
reviving in their bosoms a due sensibility of the merits of 
those who served them in that great and arduous conflict. 
The crime of ingratitude has not yet stained, and I trust 
never will stain, our national character. You are considered 
by them, as not only having rendered important services in 
our own revolution, but as being, on a more extensive scale, 
the friend of human rights and a distinguished and able ad- 
vocate in favor of public liberty. To the welfare of Thomas 
Paine, the Americans are not, nor can they be, indifferent. 

Of the sense which the president has always entertained 
of your merits, and of his friendly disposition toward you, 
you are too well assured, to require any declaration of it from 
me. That I forward his wishes in seeking your safety is what 
I well know : and this will form an additional obligation on 
me to perform what I should otherwise consider as a duty. 

You are in my opinion, at present, menaced by no kind of 
danger. To liberate you will be an object of my endeavors, 
and as soon as possible. But you must, until that event shall 
be accomplished, bear your situation with patience and forti- 
tude ; you will likewise have the justice to recollect, that I 
am placed here upon a difficult theatre, many important 
objects to attend to, and with few to consult. It becomes me 
in pursuit of those, so to regulate my conduct with respect to 
each, as to the manner and the time, as will, in my judgment, 
be best calculated to accomplish the whole. 

With great esteem and respect consider me personally 
your friend. 

JAMES MONBOE.' 



PERIOD THIRD. 43 

Mr. Paine was released from prison on the 4th of Novem- 
ber, 1794, having been in confinement for eleven months. 

After his liberation, he was kindly invited to the house of 
Mr. Monroe, where he remained for about eighteen months. 
The following extract from one of his letters, written after 
his return to America, is a highly interesting description of 
his situation while in prison, and of another narrrow escape 
which he had in addition to the one already noticed. 

' 1 was one of the nine members that composed the first 
committee of constitution. Six of them have been destroyed. 
Syeyes and myself have survived. He by bending with the 
times, and I by not bending. The other survivor joined 
Robespierre, and signed with him the warrant of my arrest- 
ation. After the fall of Robespierre, he was seized and im- 
prisoned in his turn, and sentenced to transportation. He 
has since apologised to me for Laving signed the warrant, 
by saying, he felt himself in danger and was obliged to do 
it. 

Herault Sechelles, an acquaintance of Mr. Jefferson, and 
a good patriot, was my suppliant as member of the committee 
of constitution ; that is, he was to supply my place, if I had 
not accepted or had resigned, being next in number of votes to 
me. He was imprisoned in the Luxenburg with me, was 
taken to the tribunal and the guillotine, and I, his principal, 
was left. 

There were but two foreigners in the convention, Ana- 
charsis Cloots* and myself. We were both put out of the 
convention by the same vote, arrested by the same order, and 
carried to prison together the same night. He was taken to 



* " J. B. De Cloots, a Prussian Baron, known since the revolution by the 
name of Aracharsis Cloots, was born at Cleves, on the 24th of June, 1755, 
and became the possessor of a considerable fortune. 

In September, 1792, he was deputed from the Oise to the Convention. 

In the same year he published a work entitled " The Universal Republic,'' 
wherein he laid it down as a principle ' that the people were the sovereign of 
the world nay, that it was God' ' that fools alone believed in a Supreme 
Being,' &c. He soon afterwards fell under the suspicions of Robespierre, was 
arrested as a Hebertist, and condemned to death on the 24th of March, 1794. 
He died with great firmness, and on his way to execution lectured Hebert on 
materialism,' to prevent him' as he said, from yielding to religious feelings in 
his last moments.' He even asked to be executed after all his accomplices, in 
order that he might have time ' to establish certain principles during the fall 
of their heads. Biographic Moderns. 

See, also, for a fuller account of Baron De Cloote, Thier's " History 9 
tfu Frenclt, Revolution." 



44 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE. 

the guillotine, and I was again left. Joel Barlow was with 
us when we went to prison. 

Joseph Lebon, one of the vilest characters that ever 
existed, and who made the streets of Arras run with blood, 
was my suppliant as member of the convention for the de- 
partment of 'the Pais de Calais. When I was put out of the 
convention he came and took my place. When I was 
liberated from prison, and voted again into the convention, 
he was sent to the same prison and took my place there, and 
he went to the guillotine instead of me. He supplied my 
place all the way through. 

One hundred and sixty-eight persons were taken out of 
the Luxenbourg in one night, and a hundred and sixty of them 
guillotined the next day, of which I know I was to have been 
one ; and the manner in which I escaped that fate is curious, 
and has all the appearance of accident. 

The room in which I was lodged was on the ground floor, 
and one of a long range of rooms under a gallery, and the 
door of it opened outward and flat against the wall ; so that 
when it was open the inside of the door appeared outward, 
and the contrary when it was shut. I had three comrades, 
fellow-prisoners with me, Joseph Vanhuile of Bruges, since 
president of the municipality of that town, Michael Robins, 
and Bastini of Louvain. 

When persons by scores and hundreds were to be taken 
out of prison for the guillotine, it was always done in the 
night, and those who performed that office had a private 
mark or signal by which they knew what rooms to go to, 
and what number to take. We, as I have said, were four, 
and the door of our room was marked unobserved by us, with 
that number in chalk ; but it happened, if happening is 
a proper word, that the mark was put on when the door was 
open and flat against the wall, and thereby came on the in- 
side when we shut it at night, and the destroying angel passed 
by it. A few days after this Robespierre fell, and the 
American ambassador arrived and reclaimed me and invited 
me to his house. 

During the whole of my imprisonment, prior to the fall of 
Robespierre, there was no time when I could think my life 
worth twenty-four hours, and my mind was made up to meet 
its fate. The Americans in Paris went in a body to the con- 
vention to reclaim me, but without success. There was no 
party among them with respect to me. My only hope then 
rested on the government of America that it would remember 



PERIOD THIRD. 45 

me. But the icy heart of ingratitude, in whatever man it 
may be placed, has neither feeling nor sense of honor. 
The letter of Mr. Jefferson has served to wipe away the re- 
proach, and done justice to the mass of the people of America." 

Soon after Mr. Paine's release, the convention, by a 
unanimous vote, reinstated him in the seat he had formerly 
occupied. Mr. Paine did not refuse, being resolved to show 
that he was not to be terrified, and that his principles were 
neither to be perverted by disgust nor weakened by misfortune. 

His bodily health was very much impaired by his long 
confinement, and in September following, he was taken 
dangerously ill. He states that he had felt the approach of 
his disorder for some time, which occasioned him to hasten 
to a conclusion of the second part of the " Age of Reason." 
This work was published at Paris, early in 1795, and was 
very phortly afterward reprinted both in England, and the 
United States. 

The " Age of Reason " called forth a great many replies, 
but the only one whose fame has outlived its author, is the 
Bishop of Llandaff's " Apology for the Bible." Even this is 
in defiance of the plainest rules of reason and logic, and 
would have shared the fate of its companions in the same 
cause, if it had been written by an ordinary person. 

The advocates of the Christian faith were themselves so 
conscious of the imperfections of their system, and placed so 
little reliance on the Bishop's arguments, that they commenced 
a prosecution against Mr. Williams, the publisher of the 
" Age of Reason.' They retained Mr. Erskine on the part of 
the crown, who made every effort to procure a verdict. Mr. 
Kyd made an ingenious and able reply, in behalf of the de- 
fendant, but the jury, being special, readily found him guilty, 
June 4, 1797. Mr. Paine addressed a letter to Mr. Erskine 
on the proceedings of this trial, in which he ridiculed the ab- 
surdity of discussing theological subjects before such men as 
special juries are generally composed of, and cited fresh evi- 
dence in support of his former arguments against the truth of 
the Bible. 

But. although the anti-biblical works of Mr. Paine were 
well able to withstand the Bishop of Llandaff's attacks, and 
have unquestionably made a greater number of mere unbe- 
lievers than have those of any other writer, they strongly re- 
mind those who comprehend the all-important materialistic 
significancy which underlies " supernaturalism," of the sug- 
gestions which their author so sensibly threw out, in his 



4:6 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE. 

letter to Mr. Erskine, with respect to the abilities of juries 
to deal with theological matters. 

Paine himself took far less pride in his Theological writ- 
ings than in any of his others. This is too observable to 
need to be pointed out in detail. He had comparatively such 
small expectations with respect to the good which he be- 
lieved he had the talents to perform by meddling with " su- 
pernaturalism," that he postponed the execution of that part 
of his life's mission to the latter end of his career ; and it is 
worthy of note, that in his will, he requested that it should be 
engraved on his tomb-stone, not that he was the author of 
" The Age of Reason," or of the " Examination of The Pro- 
phecies ;" but of " Common Sense" 

In the perfected, or even half regenerate future, the author 
of " the world is my country ; to do good my religion" though 
he had never written " Common Sense," " The Crisis," or 
" Rights of Man ;" nay, though he had never written another 
line, will stand higher than will the ablest mere exposer and 
denouncer of error and delusion, that ever handled a pen. 

There is, it must be confessed, in Mr. -Paine's treatment 
of the great question involved in anthropomorphism, or " the- 
ology," nothing of the profundity of Feuerbach, or of the 
thoroughness, and searching and learned inquiry concerning 
the mythical substructure of Christianity, which so eminently 
distinguishes Strauss ; and there is but little of the careful 
research of Volney, Dupuis and Robert Taylor, in either the 
" Age of Reason " or the " Examination of The Prophecies." 
Their author is altogether too deficient in the bland and win- 
ning persuasiveness of Greg, and has not an overstock of the 
candour, and patient criticism of Macnaught. 

For proof of this, compare Paine's theological master- 
pieces, just named, with Strauss's " Critical Examination of 
the Life of Jesus," Volney's " Ruins of Empires," and " New 
Researches on Ancient History," Dupuis's " Origine de tous 
les Cultes,"* Taylor's " Diegesis," " Astronomico-Theological 
Sermons," and " Devil's Pulpit," Greg's " Creed of Christen- 
dom ; Its Foundations and Superstructure," Macnaught on 
" The Doctrine of Inspiration," and that natural history of 
'' supernaturalism," Feuerbach's " Essence of Christian- 
tty. 

* Published by Mr. Gilbert Yale. 

The other works here referred to, and also " The Age of Beaaor.,' and 
" Examination of The Prophecies," arc published by C. Blanchan*. 



PERIOD THIRD. 47 

There is nothing like constructive revolution in Mr. 
Paine's attacks on the ecclesiastical hierarchy which has been, 
notwithstanding its faults, and its now, and for some time 
past, abominable abuses, the nurse of civilization the initia- 
tor of human progress. 

But there is, in the effects of his attacks on venerable 
abuses, that which is fast neccessitating constructive revolu- 
tion. 

Still, it is to be regretted that so many of those whom 
Mr. Fame's caustic arguments put in more zealous than for- 
midable battle array against priestcraft, run away with the 
idea, so unjust and humiliating to human nature, that the 
whole gospel system was, from the beginning, but a nefarious 
scheme of priests and kings, whereby to destroy liberty ; that 
the Church has always been but a hypocritical and tyranni- 
cal organiiution. For in consequence of these views, they 
think that they have found out all that need be known with 
respect to the great question of man's instinctive faith; and 
vainly imagme, that through the power of reason alone, all 
the temples of superstition can be demolished, or shaved 
down TO common shool-houses ; and think that this will make 
the woild about as good as it is capable of becoming. 

The plain truth is, that Mr. Paine's theological views are 
as superficial as his religious conceptions are profound. [It 
will be recollected that " to do good," was Mr. Paine's reli- 
gion.] His belief in a supernatural " God." in " happiness 
after death," and in " some punishment for the wicked," 
though immeasurably less atrocious than the Judaistic and 
Paganistic Christianism which he combatted, are not a whit 
more intelligible ; and had " The Age of Reason " been writ- 
ten by some sharp-witted magazine critic, instead of by the 
author of " The Crisis," " Common Sense," and " Rights of 
Man ;" or by some obscure individual, instead of by the com- 
panion of, and co-worker with, Washington, Jefferson, Frank- 
lin, Adams, and Lafayette, its notoriety never would have 
reached the height to which it immediately arose, and which, 
owing to clerical persecution, and to the abominable injustice 
and ingratitude with which Paine has been treated, it 
will no doubt gain upon for some time to come. 

But we must, in full justice to Thomas Paine, take into 
account the fact, that his theology is susceptible of a very 
liberal interpretation. I, too, materialist though I am,* 

* Of all the Oeistical works that I hare examined, none appear to me 



48 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

believe m a God ; a God as infinite as is all of which we can 
conceive ; ay, and as real ; a God as almighty as is materi- 
ality ; which is at once both agent and act, and out of whose 
presence we cannot go even in thought, will prove to be, 
through that only intelligible miracle, development. 

I believe, furthermore, in the punishment of the wicked ; 
and that, too, after death. Nay, I know that the punishment 
of all sin is inevitable. Is not that monster of iniquity, so- 
ciety, though dead and all but rotten in " trespasses and sins," 
undergoing the very torments of the damned ? 

I hope for, nay, I know that I shall have, happiness after 
death; that every particle of me will, through chemical 
change, and the refinements which nature is with rapidly in- 
creasing speed, elaborating, go -to form material beings as 
much happier than any which now exist, as " glorified saints 
and angels " are imagined to be. 

But Mr. Paine has won such laurels through his political 
writings, that he can richly afford to yield the palm with re- 
spect to theology ; not that he has not, though negatively, 
done good service, even in this field. His theological writ- 
ings have cleared the way for the practical and positive in 
social affairs, by showing that reason, or speculativeness, though 
of importance in starting the march of human progress, is 
utterly inefficient in the all important respects of the motive 
and the creative power, necessary to speed that progress to 
its goal. 

The " Age of Reason " negatively prepared the way for 
the introduction of science and art into social architecture ; 
for the inauguration of the knowable, the practical, the hu- 
mane the efficient, in place of the mysterious, the speculative, 
the vindictive, the provisional, and otherwise abortive. 

I know that these views will be somewhat distasteful to 
many of Mr. Paine's admirers ; but I have undertaken to 
give an impartial history, and therefore cannot let my own 
admiration or that of others for the great man I am writing 
about, blind me to the great truth, that, till the perfection 
point be gained, means, even those as powerful as Mr. Paine 

to be less inconsistent than the one by Henri Disdier, avocat, published at 
Geneva, in 1859. His remarks on the clergy's great lever, education, ought 
to be read by every reformer. The work is entitled " Conciliation Ra- 
tionnelle du Droit et du Devoir." It appears to me that M. Disdier has 
omitted no argument that can be adduced to support the proposition that 
there exists a " Supernatural God," or " Dieu Personnel." 



PERIOD THIRD. 49 

used, must, as fast as they exhaust their efficacy, be thrust aside 
for those of greater and greater potency. 

Opinionism has long since fulfilled its function in the so- 
cial organism, and therefore cannot too soon be rejected, 
along with its correlative, moralism, and that now main de- 
pendence of vice, virtue. Principle has become an excre- 
scence, and should be immediately expelled for enlightened 
selfishness. Principle is the barricade behind which hypo- 
crisy hides. It encumbers the path through which actual 
progress ought to have a free passage. 

But to return to the thread of this history : 

In April, 1795, a committee was appointed to form an- 
other new constitution, (the former one having been abolished) 
and the report of this committee was brought forward on the 
23d of June following, by Boissy d'Anglais. 

In 1795, Mr. Paine wrote a speech in opposition to sev- 
eral of the articles of the new constitution which had been 
presented for adoption, which was translated and read to the 
convention by Citizen Lanthera, on the seventh of July. He 
particularly contended against the unjust distinction that 
was attempted to be made between direct and indirect taxes. 
Whatever weight his objections ought to have carried, they 
were not listened to by the convention, and the constitution 
of Boissy d'Anglais was adopted. By this decree the conven- 
tion was formally dissolved ; and as Mr. Paine was not after- 
ward re-elected, it also terminated his public functions in 
France. 

The reign of terror* having somewhat subsided, Mr. 

* Let me not be misunderstood, in speaking as I have, and shall, of de- 
magogues, priests, and " oppressors " generally. I by no means approve of 
the avalanche of blame in which Robespierre has been overwhelmed. He 
and his colleagues were but the instruments of an infuriated populace which 
an unfortunate train of circumstances had let loose upon those whom equally 
unfortunate causes had made their oppressors. 

It is highly worthy of attention, that all the blood shed during the long 
" infidel " "reign of terror," amounted to but little more than half what had 
flown in a single day, (St. Bartholomew's) under the reign of supernaturalis- 
tfc terror. The whole number guillotined by order of the Revolutionary 
tribunal was, 18. 603, viz : Nobles, 1,278. Noble women, 750. Wives of 
laborers and artisans, 1,467. Religeuses, 350. Priests, 1,135. Common 
persons, not noble, 13,623. 

The lowest estimate of the number of victims of the St. Bartholomew 
massacre, is 25.000 ; but there is every reason for supposing that the ann> 
her was not less than 30,000. 

In six weeks time, the supernaturalistically misguided duke of Alva, in- 

S 



60 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

Paine resumed his pen. About the time when he brought 
out the second part of the " Age of Reason," he published 
several pamphlets on subjects less likely to inflame the pas- 
sions of we bigoted and ignorant ;. the principal of these are 
his " Dissertation on first Principles of Government," " Agra- 
rian Justice opposed to Agrarian Law," and the " Decline 
and Fall of the English System of Finance." The first of 
these is a continuation of the arguments advanced in the 
" Rights of Man ;" the second is a plan for creating in every 
country a national fund " to pay to every person when ar- 
rived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds 
sterling, to enable him or her to begin the world, and also ten 

Sounds sterling, per annum, during life, to every person, now 
ving, of the age of fifty years, and to all others, when they 
shall arrive at that age, to enable them to live without wretch- 
edness, in old age, and to go decently out of the world." 

In 1796, he published at Paris a " Letter to General Wash- 
ington." The principal subject of this letter was the treaty 
which had recently been concluded between the United States 
and Great Britain. From the articles of the treaty, Mr. Paine 
contends, that those who concluded it had compromised the 
honor of America, and the safety of her commerce, from a 
disposition to crouch to the British ministry. The cold neg- 
lect of Washington toward Mr. Paine during his imprison- 
ment, forms likewise a prominent subject of the letter, and 
but for this circumstance, it is probable that it would never 
have appeared. Notwithstanding the high opinion which 
Washington professed to entertain of his services in behalf 
of American independence, he abandoned him in a few years 
afterward to the mercy of Robespierre, and during his im- 
prisonment of. eleven months, he never made an effort to re- 
lease him. This was not the treatment which the author of 
" The Crisis " deserved at the hands of Washington, either 
as a private individual, or as president of the United States. 
Exclusive of Mr. Paine's being a citizen of the United States, 
and consequently entitled to the protection of its govern- 
ment, he had rendered her services which none but the un- 
grateful could forget ; he had therefore no reason to expect 
that her chief magistrate would abandon him in the hour of 

stigated the murder, for conscience sake, of 18,000 people, in the small king- 
dom of the Netherlands. 

IB it not time that the murderous system of blame and punishment, to 
gether with their correlate, principle, was superseded ? 



PERIOD THIRD. 61 

peril. However deserving of our admiration some parts of 
General Washington's conduct towards Mr. Paine may be, 
his behaviour in this instance certainly reflects no honor upon 
his character ; and we are utterly at a loss for *n excuse 
for it, on recollecting that when the American residents of 
Paris demanded Paine's release, the answer of the convention 
mainly was, that the demand could not be listened to 
'* in consequence of its not being authorized by the American 
government" 

Mr. Paine regarded the United States as his home ; and 
although his spirit of universal philanthropy, his republican 
principles, and his resolution in attacking fraud in politics 
and superstition in religion, rendered him rather a citizen of 
the world, than of any particular country, he had domestic 
feelings and pivotal attachments. During his residence in Eu- 
rope, he always declared his intention of returning to America ; 
the following extract from a letter of his to a lady at New 
York, will show the affectionate regard which he cherished 
for the country whose affairs were the means of first launching 
him into public life : 

' You touch me on a very tender point, when you say. that 
my friends on your side of tJie water cannot be reconciled to the 
idea of my abandoning America even for my native England. 
They are right. I had rather see my horse, Button, eating 
the grass of Bordertown, or Morrissania, than see all the pomp 
and show of Europe. 

A thousand years hence, for I must indulge a few thoughts, 
perhaps in less, America may be what England now is. The 
innocence of her character, that won the hearts of all nations 
in her favor, may sound like a romance, and her inimitable 
virtue as if it had never been. The ruins of that liberty, 
which thousands bled to obtain, may just furnish materials for 
a village tale, or extort a sigh from rustic sensibility ; while 
the fashionable of that day, enveloped in dissipation, shall 
deride the principle and deny the fact. 

When we contemplate the fall of empires, and the 
extinction of the nations of the ancient world, we see but 
littl^ more to excite our regret than the mouldering ruins of 
pompous palaces, magnificent monuments, lofty pyramids, and 
walls and towers of the most costly workmanship : but when 
the empire of America shall fall, the subject for contemplative 
sorrow will be infinitely greater than crumbling brass or 
marble can inspire. It will not then be said, Here stood a 
temple of vast antiquity, here rose a Babal of invisible height; 



52 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

or there a palace of sumptuous extravagance ; but here, ah I 
painful thought ! the noblest work of human wisdom, the 
greatest scene of human glory, the fair cause of freedom, rose 
and fell ! Read this, then ask if I forgot America.' 

In 1797, a society was formed in Paris, under the title of 
" Theophilanthropists." Of this society, Mr. Paine was one 
of th = principal founders. More of this anon. 

This year Mr. Paine published a ' Letter to the People of 
France, on the Events of the eighteenth Fructidor.' 

About the middle of the same year he also wrote a letter 
to Camille Jordan, one of the council of five hundred, 
respecting his report on the priests, public worship, and bells. 
' It is want of feeling,' says he, ' to talk of priests and bells, 
while so many infants are perishing in the hospitals, and aged 
and infirm poor in the streets from the want of necessaries. 
The abundance that France produces is sufficient for every 
want, if rightly applied ; but priests and bells, like articles 
of luxury, ought to be the least articles of consideration.' 

The publication of his deistical opinions lost Mr. Paine a 
great number of his friends, and, it is possible, that this might 
be one of the causes of General Washington's indifference. 
The clear, open, and bold manner in which he had exposed 
the fallacy of long established opinions, called forth the in- 
dignation of the whole order of priesthood both in England 
and America, and there was scarcely a house of devotion, 
in either country, which did not ring with pious execrations 
against the author of the " Age of Reason." The apostles of 
superstition witnessed with amazement and terror the im- 
mense circulation of the work, and trembled at the pos- 
sibility that men might come to think for themselves.* 

* The late Mr. George H. Evans, (one of the first movers of the land reform 
question) -was the first collector and publisher of Paine's Works in this 
country ; and the late Frances Wright D'Arusmont rendered, and Mrs. E. L. 
Eose is now rendering, most efficient aid in disseminating such views 
of these works as the popular mind is capable of taking. 

The constructive revolutionist must admire the stand she has so bravely 
and ably taken with respect to woman's rights, however exceptionable som& 
of the measures she has advocated may be considered. 

Bat there is no danger that the legitimate object of man's Adora- 
tion, woman, can be drawn into that maelstrom of abomination, caucus- 
and-ballot-boxism, and if I mistake not. Mrs. Rose does not press the 
extension of " elective franchise" to her sex quite as vigorously as she used 
to. At all events, she is doing- good service to the cause of human emanci- 
pation ; she has been a pioneer in a reform on which further progress im- 
portantly depends , for which she deserves the hearty " thanks of man and 
woman." 



PERIOD THIRD. 5S 

On leaving the house of Mr. Monroe, Paine boarded 
in the family of Nicholas Bonneville, a gentleman in good 
circumstances, and editor of a political paper, the <: Bouche de 
Fer." 

In 1797, the society of " Theophilanthropists" was formed 
in Paris ; Men capable of any reflection began to see how 
utterly monstrous was the attempt to dispense with religion 
with a universal higher law to which to appeal with 
something to satisfy, or at least prevent from being utterly 
discouraged, the instinctive aspirations of the human heart. 
Robespierre objected to atheism as aristocratic ; but Paine 
saw somewhat further than this, and Lare"villiere, a member 
of the Directory, was impressed with the necessity of a sys- 
tym which should rival the catholic church itself. The idea 
was supremely great, and lacked only the Comtean conception 
of science to make it a success. As it was, however, it proved 
a worse failure than has even Christianism. Pure Deism is 
not at all more intelligible than is that mixture of Deism, 
Buddhism, Judaism, and Paganism, called Christianity ; and 
the cold moralism which is attached to the one God system, 
the human heart instinctively abhors. Paine, and all the 
other doctors of divinity with whom he was in unison, were 
far behind even Mahomet, or Joe Smith, in respect to theo- 



Haiiy, a brother of the eminent crystallogist, assembled the 
first society of Theophilanthropists. They held their meet- 
mgs on Sunday, and had their manual of worship and hymn- 
book. 

Robespierre had, three years before, given a magnificent 
fete in honor of VEtre Supreme, and Paine now delivered a 
discourse before one of the Theophilanthropist congregations, 

Abner Kneeland was, I believe, the first editor of the first "openly 
avowed Intidel paper" in the United States, the Boston Investigator ; now 
edited by Horace Seaver, Esq. 

As to Theodore Parker, his exertions in the cause of free inquiry are of 
world-wide notori ty ; and I will here mention that " The Evidences against 
Christianity," by John S. Hittell, should be the hand-book of all those who 
look toreason, free discussion, and to an exposure of falsehood and error, for 
the salvation of the human race. 

The services which Mr. Joseph Barker has rendered the liberal cause will 
not soon be forgotten. His debate with Dr. Berg floors Christianity to the 
almost that argument can. But I much prefer the valedictory letter which 
he published in the " Investigator," previous to his departure for Europe. 
Evidently, the writer is beginning to see that something more than mew 
negativism is needed to put down superstition. 



54 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

in which he attempted to blend science and " supernaturalism." 
That some parts of this discourse would have done honor 
to an Orthodox divine, the following extracts will attest : 
" Do we want to contemplate His [God's] power ? We 
see it in the immensity of the creation. Do we want to 
contemplate His wisdom ? We see it in the unchangeable 
order fty which the incomprehensible whole is governed. Do 
we want to contemplate His mercy ? We see it in His not 
withholding His abundance even from the unthankful. In 
fine, do we want to know what God is ? Search not written 
books, but the Scriptures called the Creation." 

The finale of the miserable political and religious farce 
which had been played in France, was, that, in 1799, Bona- 
parte sent a file of grenadiers to turn both the political and 
theological quacks out of their halls ; and the sooner some 
Bonaparte does the same thing in the United States, the 
sooner will the cause of liberty be at least delivered from the 
management of those who are insulting, disgracing, and 
treacherously betraying it. 

Whilst writing this, the two great parties of spoil-seekers 
in the United States, have been caucusing for, and have at 
length decided on, two individuals out of some thirty millions, 
one of whom is to be demagogism's cat's-paw general for the 
next four years. 

The qualifications of one of these candidates for the pres- 
idential chair, consist in his having been a " farm-laborer, a 
common workman in a saw-mill, and a boatman on the 
W abash and Mississippi rivers ;" a wood-chopper, a hunter, a 
soldier in the Black Hawk war, a clerk in a store, and finally 
a sham-law manufacturer and monger a member of a Legis- 
lature, and a lawyer. The qualifications of his opponent on 
the political race-course, are probably about as different in 
respect to value, from those just enumerated, as fiddlededum 
is from fiddlededee. 

Those convenient tools of both parties, those chessmen 
with which the political game is played The People, how- 
ever, have great expectations of reform from which ever 
candidate they vote (tJiey vote 1 do they ? Faugh /) for, pro- 
vided he is elected. But mark me well, my dear fellow-suffer- 
ers ; you, and all, except about one in fifty or a hundred of the 
office-seekers whose thievish fingers itch for the public 
treasury, are destined to utter, and most woeful dispoint- 
ment. Still, I neither blame the demagogues nor your- 
selves. In the concluding sentences of this history, I shall 



PERIOD THIRD. 56 

tell you where the fault lies ; for I hope, that the political 
scamps who, iu this country, are making the name of freedom 
a scorn and a derision throughout the rest of the world, will 
be eliminated by those who will make liberty an actuality. 
How this may be done, I claim to have demonstrated in " Tfie 
Religion of Science," and " Essence of Science." 

Throughout Paine's political writings, notwithstanding 
their popularistic dressings, there runs a tone entirely con- 
demnatory of demagogism, and highly suggestive of social 
science and art. And there is no question but that the 
miserable abortion in which the liberty-agitation seemed to 
terminate in France, and the failing aspect which it took on 
in America, even in his day, all but " burst his mighty heart," 
and made him somewhat careless, though far from slovenly, 
with respect to his person. 

Paine's opposition to the atheists, on the one hand, and to 
the cruelty of those who, headed by Robespierre, had instituted 
the worship of the " Supreme Being," on the other, had 
gradually rendered him unpopular in France. His remittances 
from the United States not being very regular, M. Bonneville 
added generosity to the nobleness which he, considering the 
circumstances displayed, in opening his door to Mr. Paine, 
by lending him money whenever he wanted it. 

This kindness, Paine had soon both the opportunity and 
the means of reciprocating ; for majority absolutism had now 
become so unbearably despotic, so exceedingly morbific tc 
the social organism in France, that to save civilization even 
from destruction, Bonaparte had to be invested with supreme 
power in the State, and the nominally free press of M. Bon- 
neville was consequently stopped. 

Mr. Paine's liberty mission in France, having now evi- 
dently failed, [always remembering that nothing in nature is 
an absolute failure that progress is the constant rule and the 
seeming contrary but an aberration] he at once resolved to 
return to the United States, where he offered an asylum to 
M. Bonneville and family ; in consequence of which, Madame 
Bonneville and her three sons soon left Paris for New York. 

Owing to some cause or other, but not to the one which 
Paine's slanderers were afterwards mulcted in damages, even 
in a Christian court of Justice, for assigning, M. Bonne- 
ville did not accompany them. The eldest son returned to 
his father, in Paris ; but Mr. Paine amply provided for the 
maintenance of Madame Bonneville and her two sons who 
remained in America. 



56 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

At Paris, such personages as the Earl of Lauderdale, Dr.. 
Moore, Brissot. the Marquis de Chatelet le Eoi, General Mi- 
randa, Capt. Imlay, Joel Ba^ow, Mr. and Mrs. Stone, and 
Mary Wollstonecraft,* sought the honor of Mr. Paine's com- 
pany. 

That Mr. Paine's eloquence and power of reasoning were 
unsurpassed even by Cicero. Demosthenes or Daniel Webster, 
his political writings fully attest. 

Before it became known who wrote " Common Sense," it 
was by some attributed to Dr. Franklin ; others insisted that 
it was by that elegant writer of English, John Adams.f 

" It has been very generally propagated through the con- 
tinent," says Mr. Adams, " that I wrote this pamphlet.*** I 
could not have written any thing in so manly and striking a 
style." This eulogy, be it remembered, was pronounced by 
one who was so jealous of Paine's credit in the matter of the 
Declaration of Independence, that, says Randall, in his Life 
of Thomas Jefferson, he " spares no occasion to underrate 
Paine's services, and to assault his opinions and character."^ 

Mr. Randall continues : 

" A more effective popular appeal [than ' Common Sense'] 
never went to the bosoms of a nation. Its tone, its manner, 
its biblical illusions, its avoidance of all openly impassioned 
appeals to feeling, and its unanswerable common sense were 
exquisitely adapted to the great audience to which it was 

* Authoress of " A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, with Stric- 
tures on Political and Moral Subjects." A work, the exceeding merit of 
which has been lost sight of, in its name, since woman's rights have been- 
claimed to consist in the liberty to degrade herself to the level of the politi- 
cian. 

f That that great patriot, John Adams, and many other revolutionary 
worthies vaguely entertained the idea of Independence before " Gomroon 
Sense " was published, there can be no doubt. But the question ig, who. 
had the courage to first propose the thing, and in a practical shape ? That 
Mr. Adam's prudence predominated over his courage, great as that 
was, is further deducible from the strung reason there was for the inference 
that his religious opinions, if openly expressed, would have appeared as far 
from the orthodox standard, as were those of Paine. See Randall's Life of 
Jefferson, on this point. 

J I have before called the attention of the reader to the fact that Rous- 
seau was, like Paine, an " author hero ;" his writings were prominently the 
text of the French Revolution. I will further remark, that whoever drew 
up the " Declaration of Independence," has given indisputable evidence of 
having well studied the " Control Social " of the author of the " world-famous" 
u Confessions." 



PERIOD THIRD. 57 

addressed ; and calm investigation will satisfy the historical 
student, that its effect in preparing the popular mind for the 
Declaration of Independence, exceeded that of any othei 
paper, speech, or document made to favor it, and it would 
scarcely be exaggeration to add, than all other such means 
put together." 

" No writer," says Thomas Jefferson, " has exceeded Paine 
in ease and familiarity of style, in perspicuity of expression, 
happiness of elucidation, and in simple and unassuming 
language." 

Says General Washington, in a letter to Joseph Reed, 
(Jan. 31, 1776) ; " A few more such flaming arguments as 
were exhibited at Falmouth and Norfolk, added to the sound 
doctrine and unanswerable reasoning contained in the pam- 
phlet " Common Sense,' will not leave numbers at a loss to de- 
cide on the propriety of a separation." 

That Paine possessed a very superior degree of mechanical 
skill, his model for iron-bridges, abundantly proves. That 
his genius for poetry lacked but cultivating, I think will suffi- 
ciently appear from the following little efifusion, extracted 
from his correspondence with a lady, afterwards the wife of 
Sir Robert Smith : 



FROM " THE CASTLE IN THE AIR," TO THE " LITTLE CORKER OF TH1 
WORLD." 

IN the region of clouds where the whirlwinds arise, 

My castle of fancy was built ; 
The turrets reflected the blue of the skies, 

And the windows with sun-beams were gilt. 

The rainbow sometimes, in its beautiful state, 

Enamelled the mansion around, 
And the figures that fancy in clouds can create, 

Supplied me with gardens and ground. 

I had grottoes and fountains and orange tree groves, 

I had all that enchantment has told ; 
I had sweet shady walks for the gods and their love% 

I had mountains of coral and gold. 



58 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

But a storm that I felt not, had risen and rolled, 

"While wrapt in a slumber I lay : 
And when I looked out in the morning, behold I 

My castle was carried away. 

It passed over rivers, and valleys, and groves 

The world, it was all in my view 
I thought of my friends, of their fates, of their lovea, 

And often, full often, of you. 

At length it came over a beautiful scene, 

That nature in silence had made : 
The place was but small but 't was sweetly serene, 

And chequered with sunshine and shade. 

I gazed and I envied with painful good will, 

And grew tired of my seat in the air : 
When all of a sudden my castle stood still. 

As if some attraction was there. 

Like a lark from the sky it came fluttering down, 

And placed me exactly in view 
When who should I meet, in this charming retreat, 

This corner of calmness but you. 

Delighted to find you in honor and ease, 

I felt no more sorrow nor pain ; 
And the wind coming fair, I ascended the breeze, 

And went back with my castle again.' 

On the subject of the simplicity of Mr. Paine's habits, and 
his general amiability, his friend Clio Rickman remarks : 

" He usually rose about seven, breakfasted with his friend 
Choppin, Johnson, and two or three other Englishmen, and a 
Monsieur La Borde, who had been an officer in the ci-devant 
garde du corps, an intolerable aristocrat, but whose skill in 
mechanics and geometry brought on a friendship between him 
and Paine ; for the undaunted and distinguished ability and 
firmness with which he ever defended his own opinions when 
controverted, do not reflect higher honor upon him than that 
unbounded liberality toward the opinion of others which con- 
stituted such a prominent feature in his character, and whicls 



PERIOD THIRD, 59 

never suffered mere difference of sentiment, whether political 
or religious, to interrupt the harmonious intercourse of 
friendship, or impede the interchanges of knowledge and in- 
formation. 

After breakfast he usually strayed an hour or two in the 
garden, where he one morning pointed out the kind of spider 
whose web furnished him with the, first idea of constructing 
his iron bridge ; a fine model of which, in mahogany, is pre- 
served at Paris. 

The little happy circle who lived with him here will ever 
remember these days with delight : with these select friends 
he would talk of his boyish days, play at chess, whist, piquet, 
or cribbage, and enliven the moments by many interesting 
anecdotes : with these he would sport on the broad and fine 
gravel walk at the upper end of the garden, and then retire 
to his boudoir, where he was up to his knees in letters and 
papers of various descriptions. Here he remained till dinner- 
time ; and unless he visited Brissof's family, or some particu- 
lar friend in the evening, which was his frequent custom, he 
joined again the society of his favorites and fellow-boarders, 
with whom his conversation was often witty and cheerful, 
always acute and improving, but never frivolous. 

Incorrupt, straightforward, and sincere, he pursued his 
political course in France, as everywhere else, let the govern- 
ment or clamor or faction of the day be what it might, with 
firmness, with clearness, and without a " shadow of turn- 
ing." 

In all Mr. Paine's inquiries and conversations he evinced 
the strongest attachment to the investigation of truth, and was 
always for going to the fountain-head for information. He 
often lamented we had no good history of America, and that 
the letters written by Columbus, the early navigators, and 
others, to the Spanish court, were inaccessible, and that many 
valuable documents, collected by Philip II., and deposited with 
the national archives at Simanca, had not yet been promulga- 
ted. He used to speak highly of the sentimental parts of Ray- 
nal's History." 

Of course, Mr. Paine did not escape the imputation of 
being " immoral." The cry of " immorality " and " licen- 
tiousness " has been raised against every one who has ever 
proposed a social system different from the prevailing one, 
from the time of him who preferred harlotry to phariseeism, to 
that of Charles Fourier. 

Luther no more escaped the accusation of being a sensua- 



60 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

list, than did Thomas Paine ; and had not Milton -written 
* Paradise Lost," and professed the " orthodox " religion, his 
" Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce " would have placed him 
on the same historical page with those reformers Dr. T. L. 
Nichols, Dr. E. Lazarus, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.* 

Paine did not, as we have seen, live with his wife ; but if 
he refrained from sexual intercourse, it must have been be- 
cause he was afraid of what the world might say, (a suppo- 
sition too absurd, in his case, to be entertained for a moment) 
or because he had little taste for amorous pleasures ; or, 
lastly, because he wanted to show the world that liberalism 
was such a matter of moon-shine, that it was not even mimi- 

* The first of these gentlemen favored mankind with " Esoteric Anthro- 
pology," and " Marriage : Its History," &c. The second is the author of 
" Love vs. Marriage ;" and the third took the free love side of the question 
in the famous discussion on Marriage and Divorce between himself and the 
Hon. Horace Greeley, and is author of " The Science of Society," and several 
other progressive works, and of an admirable system of instruction in the 
French language. 

It is difficult to see how a person of Mr. Greeley's understanding could 
have taken the side he did in the controversy just alluded to, and also in the 
renewal of that controversy between himself and the Hon. Robert Dale 
Owen. 

That monogamy, like polygamy, has served a useful purpose, every one 
capable of tracing progress, can of course see ; but how such an one can fail 
to perceive that these institutions have about equally become worn out, and 
morbific to the social organism, both in Western Europe and the United 
States, is to me somewhat mysterious. Are not those crowning curses, (ex- 
cepting, of course, demagogism) prostitution, and pauperism, alarmingly on 
the increase? And does not the former flourish most, where the cords of 
matrimony are drawn the tightest? 

But the fact that Mr. Greeley magnanimously opened the columns of 
" The Tribune " to the other side of the question, shows that he had full confi- 
dence in the arguments on his side, and this ought to dispel all doubts as to 
his sincerity, and the uprightness of his intention. It is only hypocrites 
or downright fools, who wish to have truth, with respect to religious or so- 
cial questions, suppressed. 

Still, I respectfully ask you, Mr. Editor of " The New York Tribune," did 
you during your visit to Mormondom: observe any part of Salt Lake^City, 
in which humanity touched a lower depth than that to which it sinks in our 
Five Points, and in the vicinity of the junction of Water- and Roosevelt- 
streets ? And do you really think, that even in the harem of Brigham Young, 
female degradation is greater than in the New York palaces of harlotry ? 
En passant, one of these has just been fitted up, the furniture alone in which 
cost thirty thousand dollars ! Yet New York is almost the only State in 
the Union, wherein exists what Mr. Greeley considers orthodox marriage- 
marriage, from the bonds of which there is no escape, except through the 
door of actual adultery, natural death, or murder ; often by poison, but 
generally through the infliction of mental agony ! 



PERIOD THIRD. 61 

jal to what a religious system which upholds crucifixion and 
rfelf-der ial, palms of on its dupes for " virtue ;" that liberal- 
ism has no virtue of its own, and therefore has to borrow and 
adopt that the very basis of which is supernaturalistic self- 
enslavement ; that free-thinking is a mere speculative, im- 
practicable, abstract sort of freedom, which it would not be 
" virtuous " to accompany by free acting ; that liberty, even 
in the most important particular, (as all physiologists know) 
is but a mere figment of the imagination, over which to de- 
bate or hold free discussions ; or, at most, to write songs, 
plays, and novels about. 

But what is most worthy of remark in this connection is, 
that had the discoverer of the steam-engine, or of the electrical 
telegraph been a very Rochester, or Caesar Borgia, the cir- 
cumstance would not have been mentioned as an objection to 
a steam-boat passage, or to a telegraphic dispatch ; and only 
when sociology is rescued from the wild regions of the specu- 
lative and becomes an art, will it have a rule of its own ; a 
rule which will free att the natural passions from the shackles 
of ignorance of how to beneficially gratify them. 

For a reason which will presently appear, I shall now 
call the readers attention, to the letter of Joel Barlow, writ- 
ten in answer to one from that vilest of slanderers and rene- 
gados, James Cheethain. This letter was written to obtain 
information ; nay, not information, but what might be tor- 
tured into appearing such, with a view to sending forth to a 
prejudiced world, that tissue of falsehoods, which Cheetham 
had the audacity to palm off on it for the Life of Thomas 
Paine. 



To JAMES CHEETHAM. 
"SiR: 

I have received your letter calling for information re- 
lative to the life of Thomas Paine. It appears to me that 
this is not the moment to publish the life of that man in this 
country. His own writings are his best life, and these are 
not read at present. 

The greatest part of the readers in the United States will 
not be persuaded as long as their present feelings last, to con- 
sider him in any other light than as a drunkard and a deist. 
The writer of his life who should dwell on these topics, to the 
exclusion of the great and estimable traits of his real char- 
acter, might, indeed, please the rabble of the age who do not 
know him ; the book might sell ; but it would only tend to 



62 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

render the truth more obscure, for the future biographer that 
it was before. 

But if the present writer should give us Thomas Paine 
complete in all his character as one of the most benevolent and 
disinterested of mankind, endowed with the clearest percep- 
tion, an uncommon share of original genius, and the greatest 
breadth of thought ; if this piece of biography should analyze 
his literary iaoors, and rank him as he ought to be ranked 
among the brightest and most undeviating luminaries of the 
age in which he has lived yet with a mind assailable by flat- 
tery, and receiving through that weak side a tincture of vanity 
which he was too proud to conceal ; with a mind, though 
strong enough to bear him up, and to rise elastic under the 
heaviest load of oppression, yet unable to endure the contempt 
of his former friends and fellow-laborers, the rulers of the 
country that had received his first and greatest services 
a mind incapable of looking down with serene compassion, as 
it ought, on the rude scoffs of their imitators, a new genera- 
tion that knows him not ; a mind that shrinks from their 
Bociety, and unhappily seeks refuge in low company, or looks 
for consolation in the sordid, solitary bottle, till it sinks at 
last so far below its native elevation as to lose all respect for 
itself, and to forfeit that of his best friends, disposing these 
friends almost to join with his enemies, and wish, though from 
different motives, that he would haste to hide himself in the 
grave if you are disposed and prepared to write his life, thus 
entire, to fill up the picture to which these hasty strokes of 
outline give but a rude sketch with great vacuities, your book 
may be a useful one for another age, but it will not be relished, 
nor scarcely tolerated in this. 

The biographer of Thomas Paine should not forget his 
mathematical acquirements, and his mechanical genius. His 
invention of the iron bridge, which led him to Europe in the 
year 1787, has procured him a great reputation in that branch 
of science, in France and England, in both which countries 
his bridge has been adopted in many instances, and is now 
much in use. 

You ask whether he took an oath of allegiance to France. 
Doubtless, the qualification to be a member of the convention 
required an oath of fidelity to that country, but involved in ii 
no abjuration of his fidelity to this. He was made a French 
citizen by the same decree with Washington, Hamilton, Priest- 
ley, and Sir James Mackintosh. 

What Mr. M has told you relative to the circum- 



PERIOD THIRD. 63 

stances of his arrestation by order of Robespierre, is erro- 
neous, at least in one point. Paine did not lodge at the house 
where he was arrested, but had been dining there with some 

Americans, of whom Mr. M - may have been one. I 

never heard before, that Paine was intoxicated that night. 
Indeed the officers brought him directly to my house, which 
was two miles from his lodgings, and about as much from the 
place where he had been dining. He was not intoxicated 
when they came to me. Their object was to get me to go 
and assist them to examine Paine's paper. It employed us the 
rest of that night, and the whole of the next day at Paine's lod- 
gings ; and he was not committed to prison till the next evening. 

You ask what company he kept he always frequented 
the best, both in England and France, till he became the ob- 
ject of calumny in certain American papers (echoes of the 
English court papers), for his adherence to what he thought 
the cause of liberty in France, till he conceived himself neg- 
lected, and despised by his former friends in the United 
States. From that moment he gave himself very much to 
drink, and. consequently, to companions less worthy of his 
better days. 

It is said he was always a peevish person this is possible. 
So was Lawrence Sterne, so was Torquato Tasso, so was J. J. 
Rousseau ;* but Thomas Paine, as a visiting acquaintance and 
as a literary friend, the only points of view in which I knew 
him, was one of the most instructive men I ever have known. 
He had a surprising memory and brilliant fancy ; his mind was 
a storehouse of facts and useful observations ; he was full of 
lively anecdote, and ingenious original, pertinent remark upon 
almost every subject. 

He was always charitable to the poor beyond his means, a 
sure protector and friend to all Americans in distress that 
he found in foreign countries. And he had frequent occasions 
to exert his influence in protecting them during the revolu- 
tion in France. His writings will answer for his patriotism, 
and his entire devotion to what he conceived to be the best 
interest and happiness of mankind. 

This, sir. is all I have to remark on the subject you mention. 
Now I have only one request to make, and that would doubt 
less seem impertinent, were you not the editor of a news- 

* The peevishness of the famous Dr. Samuel Johnson is notorious ; and 
David, the " man after God's own heart," was so inveterately peevish IK to 
ring, whilst he forced the sweet tones of his harp to accompany the spiteful 
canticle, ' All men are liars.' 



64 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

paper ; it is, that you will not publish my letter, nor permit a 
copy of it to be taken. 

I am, sir, &c., 

JOEL BARLOW. 
KALORAMA, August 11, 1809." 

<; Mr. Barlow," says Mr. Vale, " was in France at the 
time of Mr. Paine's death, and knew not his habits. Cheet- 
ham wrote to him, informed him of his object, mentioned that 
Paine was drunken and low in his company towards the latter 
years of his life, and says he was informed that he was drunk 
when taken to prison in JYance. Now Mr. Barlow does not 
contradict Cheetham ; he could not, as Cheetham had the 
better opportunity of knowing facts, and Mr. Barlow does 
not suspect him of falsehood ; as who would ? He therefore 
presumes Mr. Cheetham correct in the statement, and goes 
on, not to excuse Paine, but to present his acknowledged 
good qualities as a set-off. Then Cheetham publishes this 
letter, and presents, to a cursory reader, Mr. Joel Barlow as 
acknowledging Mr. Paine's intemperance, and other infirmi- 
ties, which had no other foundation than Cheetham's decla- 
ration, given to deceive Barlow ; who afterwards, as we have 
seen, gives Barlow's letter to deceive the public." 

The late Mr. D. Burger, a respectable watch and clock 
maker in the city of New York, and who, when a boy, was 
clerk in the store which furnished Mr. Paine's groceries, person- 
ally assured the writer of this, that all the liquor which Mr. 
Paine bought, both for himself and his friends, at a time, too, 
when drinking was fashionable, was one quart a week. 

Before returning to the thread of this narrative, I will 
call the attention of the reader to the following letter, from 
Mr. Jefferson, written to Mr. Paine, in answer to one which 
the latter wrote to him, from Paris : 

" You express a wish in your letter to return to America 
by a national ship ; Mr. Dawson, who brings over the treaty, 
and who will present you with this letter, is charged with 
orders to the captain of the Maryland to receive and accomo- 
date you back, if you can be ready to depart at such a short 
warning. You will in general find us returned to sentiments 
worthy of former times ; in these it will be your glory to have 
steadily labored, and with as much effect as any man living. 
That you may live long to continue your useful labors, and 
reap the reward in the thankfulness of nations, is my sincere 



PERIOD THIRD. 65 

prayer. Accept the assurances of my high esteem, and affection- 
ate attachment. 

THOMAS JEFFERSON." 



Mr. Jefferson had, during the election campaign which 
seated him in the presidential chair, been pronounced an in- 
fidel ; and, says Randall, in his " Life of Jefferson" " It was 
asserted in the Federal newspapers generally, and preaclied 
from a multitude of pulpits, that one of the first acts of the 
President, after entering office, was to send a national vessel 
to invite and bring ' Tom Paine ' to America." 

" Paine was an infidel," continues Randall. " He had 
written politically against Washington. He was accused of 
inebriety, and a want of chastity, [of the truth of both which 
accusations Randall strongly indicates his unbelief.] But he 
was the author of " Common Sense " and the " Crisis." 

On the occasion of Paine's writing to Jefferson, that he 
was coming to visit him at Monticello, Randall again re- 
marks : "Mrs. Randolph, and we think Mrs. Epps, both 
daughters of the Church of England, were not careful to 
conceal that they would have much preferred to have Mr. 
Paine stay away. Mr. Jefferson turned to the speaker with 
his gentlest smile, and remarked in substance : " Mr. Paine 
is not, I believe, a favorite among the ladies but he is too 
well entitled to the hospitality of every American, not to 
cheerfully receive mine." Paine came, and remained a day or 
two, **** and left Mr. Jefferson's mansion, the subject of 
lighter prejudices, than when he entered it." 

Mr. Paine was to have accompanied Mr. Monroe back to 
the United States, but was unable to complete his arrange- 
ments in time. This was fortunate ; for the vessel in which 
the American minister embarked was, on her passage, boarded 
by a British frigate, and thoroughly searched for the author 
of " The Rights of Man." Paine then went to Havre ; but 
finding that several British frigates were cruising about the 
port, he returned to Paris. 

Seeing himself thus baulked, he wrote to Mr. Jefferson, 
as before stated, for assistance, which produced the letter 
above copied. He did not, however, for some cause or other, 
take passage in the Maryland. He next agreed to sail with 
Commodore Barney, but was accidentally detained beyond 
the time, and the vessel in which he was to have embarked, 
was lost at sea. 



66 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

In addition to these remarkable preservations, Paine, in 
1805, was shot at through the window of his own house, at 
New Rochelle, and escaped unharmed ; also the privateer in 
which, but for the interference of his father, (as we have 
seen) he would, when a youth, have sailed, lost 174 out of her 
crew of 200 men, in a single battle ; and when he was in 
prison, as has already been related, he missed going to the 
guillotine, in consequence of the jailor, whose business it was 
to put the death-mark on the cell doors of the doomed, not 
noticing that the door of the cell which contained the author 
of the " Age of Reason" was open flat against the wall, so 
that the inside was marked for the information of Paine, in- 
stead of the outside for the instruction of the executioner.* 



* " But in this set of ; Tumbrils [the dung-carts in which the victims of 
the Reign of Terror were dragged to execution] there are two other things 
notable : one notable person ; and one want of a notable person . The no- 
table person is Lieutenant-General Loiserolles. a nobleman by birth, and by 
nature ; laying down his life here for his son. In the prison of Saint-Lazare, 
the night before last, hurrying to the gate to hear the death-list read, he 
caught the name of his son. The son was asleep at the moment. " I am 
Loiserolles," cried the old man ; at Tinville's bar, an error in the Christian 
name is little ; small objection was made. The want of the notable person, 
again, is that of Deputy Paine ! Paine has sat in the Luxembourg since 
January ; and seemed forgotten ; but Fouquier had pricked him at last. 
The Turnkey, list in hand, is marking with chalk the outer doors of to-mor- 
row's Fournee. Paine's outer door happened to be open, turned back on 
the wall ; the Turnkey marked it on the side next him, and hurried on ; an- 
other Turnkey came, and shut it ; no chalk-mark now visible, the Fournee 
went without Paine. Paine's life lay not there." Carlyle. 

Fouquier Tinville, above alluded to, was the head juryman of the Revo- 
lutionary Tribunal. He was far more blood-thirsty than was Robespierre 
himself. Was not the proof of his atrocities indubitable, it would be impos- 
sible to believe that such horrors ever took place. Yet such a " man of 
principle," and so incorruptible was this horrible wretch, that, says Allison, 
"women, the pleasures of the table, or of the theatre, were alike indifferent 
to him.*** He might during the period of his power, have amassed an im- 
mense fortune ; he remained to the last poor, and his wife is said to have 
died of famine. His lodgings were destitute of every comfort ; their whole 
furniture, after his death, did not sell for twenty pounds. No seduction 
could influence him." I will add, so muck for principle. FOUQUIER TIN- 
VILLE WAS, PAST ALL QUESTION, VIRTUOUS, HONEST, SINCERE, CONSCIEN- 
TIOUS. Had this miserable victim of the crudest and hardest to be got 
rid of delusion that mankind were ever infatuated with, been as destitute 
of all "virtuous" qualities as was Alexander VI., he could, at worst, have been 
bought off, and would probably not have perpetrated a tithe of the evil he 
did. He at last, like Robespierre, " sealed his testimon) ' on the scaffold. 

The French, like ourselves, had been taught to venerate a religious sys- 
tem whi ?h deifies that crowning atrocity, crucifixion to satisfy justice ! and 



PERIOD THIBD. 67 

Had a missionary of superstition been thus preserved, how the 
hand of " God " would have been seen in the matter. 

He at last sailed from Havre, on the 1st of September, 
1802, and arrived at Baltimore, on the 30th of October, fol- 
lowing. 

From Baltimore he went to Washington, where he was 
kindly received by the President, Thomas Jefferson. This 
gentleman thought so highly of him, that a few days before 
MB arrival, he remarked to a friend, " If there be an office 
in my gift, suitable for him to fill, I will give it to him ; I 
will never abandon old friends to make room for new ones." 
Jefferson was one of the few among Paine's illustrious friends, 
who never joined the priest ridden multitude against him. 
He corresponded with him up to the time of his death. 

Mr. Paine was now between sixty and seventy years of 
age, yet vigorous in body, and with a mind not at all im- 
paired. 

Of the manner in which he was generally received on his 
return to the United States, we can form a very fair judg- 

which consequently canonizes daily and hourly self-crucifixion. In all can- 
dour I ask, was not practical faith in the guillotine the natural result ? and 
are not war, duelling, torturing, hanging, imprisoning : together with blam- 
ing and despising our unfortunate fellow creatures as vicious, as less holy 
than our stupid selves, the practical logic of " virtue " and " principle ?" 
And were not Marat, Joseph Lebon, St. Just, Robespierre, Tinville, and the 
rest of that ilk, the tools the agents the faithful servants, and finally the 
victims of the supernaturalistically educated and virtuously inclined majority! 
The arch tyrant who was at the bottom of all this. I shall take in hand 
presently, and show how to conquer ; ay, annihilate him. 

If the grand truth was taught us from our cradles, that we can no more 
expect weil-doing without the requisite materialistic conditions, than we can 
expect a watch to keep time except on condition that every wheel and spring 
shall be in artistic harmony with each other, where would be malice ! And 
if we practiced in accordance with this grand truth, where would be either 
wholesale or retail murder ? where would be wrong of any description ? 

" I don't know about that," methinks I hear the mildest of the old fogiei 
exclaim. Well, my dear fellow biped, I'll tell you one thing you do most 
assuredly feel to be true ; and you know it to be true, as sure as you are ca- 
pable of the slightest connection of ideas. It is this. The present method 
of reforming the world, has, since the most barbarous age, never done aught 
but make it a great deal worse. Are people more honest or less gallant 
now than they ever were ? And if civilized nations are not quite so cruel, 
especially in war time, as are savages, is not that clearly traceable to science 
and art? Show me where man is least cruel, and I will show you where 
" suptfrnaturalism." the synonym for ignorance, and the very basis of " vir- 
tue," principle, and moralism, has lost the most ground, and where science 
an<? art have gained the most 



88 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE. 

inent from the following letter to his friend, Clio Rick- 
man : 

" MY DEAR FRIEND : 

Mr. Monroe, who is appointed minister extraordinary to 
France, takes charge of this", to be delivered to Mr. Este, 
banker in Paris, to be forwarded to you. 

I arrived at Baltimore 30th October, and you can have 
no idea of the agitation which my arrival occasioned. From 
New Hampshire to Georgia (an extent of 1500 miles), every 
newspaper was filled with applause or abuse. 

My property in this country has been taken care of by my 
friends, and is now worth six thousand pounds sterling ; 
which put in the funds will bring me 400 sterling a year. 

Remember me in friendship and affection to your wife and 
family, and in the circle of our friends. 

Yours in friendship, 

THOMAS PAINE." 

With respect to the course which Mr. Paine intended, for 
the future, to pursue, he says : 

I have no occasion to ask, nor do I intend to accept, any 
place or office in the government. 

There is none it could give me that would in any way be 
equal to the profits I could make as an author, (for I have an 
established fame in the literary world) could I reconcile it to 
my principles to make money by my politics or religion ; I 
must be in everything as I have ever been, a disinterested 
volunteer : my proper sphere of action is on the common floor 
of citizenship, and to honest men I give my hand and my heart 
freely. 

I have some manuscript works to publish, of which I shall 
give proper notice, and some mechanical affairs to bring for- 
ward, that will employ all my leisure time." 

From Washington, Mr. Paine went to New York, and 
put up at the City Hotel, where the mayor and De Witt 
Clinton called on him ; and, notwithstanding the influence of 
the emissaries of superstition and their dupes, he was honored 
with a public dinner, by a most respectable and numerous 
party ; and it is worthy of remark that Cheetham, then edi- 
tor of a democratic daily paper, was particularly officious in 
helping to make the arrangements. 

In respect to Chatham's fictions about the slovenlmess 



PERIOD THIRD. 69 

of Mr. Paine, if there had been any truth in his assertions, 
would not his most intimate friends, such as De Witt Clin- 
ton, the mayor of New York, and Mr. Jarvis, have noticed 
it ? The truth about this is, that Mr. Paine, though always 
clean, was as cardess in his dress as were Napoleon and Fre- 
deric the Great ; and almost as lavish of his snuff. We have 
the positive and very respectable testimony of Mr. John Fel- 
lows, that Mr. Paine's slovenliness went no further than this, 

But the sun of liberty had now so evidently passed meri- 
dian in America, that most of the leading politicians of the 
day considered it for their interests to turn their backs on 
Mr. Paine ; this threw the great martyr to the cause of free- 
dom into the society of a class of people with better hearts, 
and except in respect of political gambling and fraud, with 
sounder heads. 

Among this class was a respectable tradesman, a black- 
smith and veterinary surgeon, of the name of Carver. When 
a boy, he had known Paine, who also, recollected him by 
some little services which Carver reminded him that he had 
performed for him at Lewes, in Sussex, England ; such, for 
instance, as saddling his horse for him. Mr. Carver was 
comfortably situated, and was honest and independent enough 
to openly avow the religious opinions of the author of the 
" Age of Reason." Paine boarded at his house some time 
before going to live at New Rochelle. 

In a fit of anger, however, the unsuspicious Mr. Carver 
afterwards became the tool of Cheetham ; 'a circumstance 
which he (Carver) sorely regretted to the day of his death. 

I once met him at a celebration of Paine s birth-day, and 
shall never forget the anxiety which the venerable old gen- 
tleman exhibited to do away with the wrong impression 
which the great libeller of Mr. Paine had betrayed him into 
making on the public mind. The circumstances were, in 
short, these : Carver had presented a bill for board to Mr. 
Paine, which the latter (who, as truly generous people usually 
are, was very economical) considered exorbitant, and, there- 
fore, hastily proposed paying off-hand, and having nothing 
more to do with Carver. Carver would probably not have 
presented any bill at all, had he not been, just then, in rather 
straightened circumstances, and at the same time aware that 
Mr. Paine was in affluence. He got into a passion at the 
manner in which Mr. Paine treated his claim, wrote him some 
angry letters, and unfortunately kept copies of them ; which 
Cheetham, without letting him know what use he intended 



TO LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

to make of them, managed to get hold of, and publish after 
Mr. Paine's death, though the difficulty which elicited them- 
had been immediately and amicably adjusted between the 
parties concerned. 

This piece of chicanery, however, cost Cheetham a convic- 
tion for libel on Madam Bonneville, who had been, though only 
by inuendo, mentioned in the letters aforesaid, in a manner 
which society, in its present state of wisdom, pleases to consi^ 
der scandalous. 

When Mr. Paine went to New Rochelle, he boarded with 
Mr. Purdy, who lived on his farm. He offered Madam 
Bonneville and her two sons his small farm at Bordentown. 
But that rural retreat was so different from Paris, that she 
chose to remain in New York, where she taught French 
occasionally, but was almost wholly supported by Mr. 
Paine. 

Madam Bonneville, though generally amiable, sometimes 
contracted debts which Mr. Paine conceived unnecessary. 
She furthermore, says Mr. Vale, " did not scruple to send 
bills in to him which he had not sanctioned." To check which 
propensity, Mr. Paine once allowed himself to be sued by a 
Mr. Wilburn, for a debt of thirty-five dollars for her board ; 
but after nonsuiting the plaintiff, he paid the debt. As a 
proof that there was never any serious quarrel between Mr. 
Paine and Madam Bonneville, that lady, her husband and fam- 
ily were, as we shall presently see, Mr. Paine's principal 
legatees. 

To oblige his friends, Mr. Paine after a while left his 
farm at New Rochelle, and went back to Carver's to board ; 
where he remained till he took up his residence at the house 
of Mr. Jarvis, the celebrated painter, who relates the folow- 
ing anecdote of his guest : 

" One afternoon, a very old lady, dressed in a large scar- 
let cloak, knocked at the door, and inquired for Thomas 
Paine. Mr. Jarvis told her he was asleep. ' I am very sor- 
ry,' she said, ' for that, for I want to see him very particular- 
ly.' Thinking it a pity to make an old woman call twice, 
Mr. Jarvis took her into Paine's bed-room and waked him. 
He rose upon one elbow, and then, with an expression of eye 
that staggered the old woman, back a step or two, he ask- 
ed ' What do you want ?' ' Is your name Paine ?' ' Yes.' 
Well then, I come from Almighty God, to tell you, that if 
you do not repent of your sins and believe in our blessed Sa- 
viour Jesus Chr'st, you will be damned, and ' 



PERIOD THIRD. 71 

poh, it is not true. You were not sent with such an imper- 
tinent message. Jarvis, make her go away. Pshaw, he 
would not send such a foolish old woman as you about with 
his messages. Go away. Go back. Shut the door. The 
old lady raised both her hands, kept them so, and without 
saying another word, walked away in mute astonishment." 

In 1807, Mr. Paine, now in the seventieth year of his age, 
removed to the house of Mr. Hitt, a baker, in Broome-street, 
street. Whilst here, he { ublished " An Examination of the 
Passages in the New Testament, quoted from the Old. and 
called Prophecies of the Coming of Jesus Christ." 

Mr. Paine lived in Partition-street successively ; and af- 
terwards, in Greenwich-street ; but becoming too feeble to 
be thus moving about among boarding houses, Madam Bonne- 
ville, in May, 1809, hired for his accommodation a small 
house in Columbia-street, where she attended on him till his 
death. 

Mr. Paine had moved from house to house, as we have 
seen, not because he had not ample resources, but, partly to 
oblige his friends, and partly for the variety it afforded, part- 
ly because it suited his plain and simple habits, and partly 
because, like most old people, he had become a little too fru- 
gal. 

Perceiving his end approaching, Mr. Paine applied to 
Willit Hicks, an influential preacher of tie Society of Friends, 
for permission to be buried in their cemetary. Mr. Hicks 
laid the proposition before the members of his meeting, who, 
to their eternal disgrace returned a negative answer. 

Of course, the author of " Age of Reason," was now beset 
by the emissaries of superstition. The clergy themselves not 
being aware of the momentous, eternal, and impregnable ma- 
terialistic truth which the folly they teach encrusts, were 
panic-struck at finding the battery of reason, which had 
proved so powerful, under Paine's management, against 
kings, aimed at them, and by the same skilful engineer. 
They therefore spared no pains which malice and the mean 
cowardice which a " consciousness of guilt " inspires, could 
invent, to get up some show of materials, out of which to 
manufacture a recantation. But not the least particle of any 
proof of what they sought did they obtain ; all the pious 
tales with which they have insulted the world on the subject, 
are sheer fabrications. Yet the Christian judge who sen- 
tenced Cheetham for libel on account of one of these wretch 
ed impositions, did not blush, says Mr. Vale, to " coinpli 



72 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE 

ment " that arch impostor for having by the very act for 
which he was legally compelled to condemn him to pay " hea- 
vy damages " produced a work useful to religion !" * 

Not long before his death, Mr. Paine, in the course of con- 
versation with his friend Jarvis, at whose house he then was, 
observed : " Now I am in health, and in perfect soundness 
of mind ; now is the time to express my opinion." He then 
solemnly declared that his views, as set forth in his theologi- 
cal writings, remained the same. 

The late Dr. Manly, on the occasion of my calling his at- 
tention to an article in an English Encyclopedia which con- 
veyed the idea that he testified to Paine's recantation, assur- 
ed me that the author of " The Age of Reason " " did not 
recant ;" and the Doctor seemed not over pleased, that his 
words had been tortured into giving the impression they did. 
He believed that Mr. Paine's last words were, " I don't 
wish to hear anything more about that man ;" in answer to 
the question, " Do you wish to believe in Jesus Christ ?" I 
think I remember Dr. Manly's words correctly, though Mr. 
Vale says that the answer of Paine, as reported by Dr. Man- 
ly, was, " I have no wish to believe on the subject." It 
will be perceived, however, that there is no material differ- 
ence ; and that Dr. Manly might, on two several occasions, 
and at wide intervals, have stated the answer in both ways ; 
either of which, conveys essentially the same meaning. 

On one occasion, a Methodist preacher obtruded himself 
on Mr. Paine, and abruptly told him that, " unless he repent- 
ed of his unbelief, he would be damned." To which, the al- 
most dying man, partly rising in his bed, indignantly answer- 
ed, that if he was able, he would immediately put him out of 
the room. This scene is related by Mr. Willit Hicks, of 
whom mention has already been made. 

The clergy condescended, in their desperation to blacken 
the character, and destroy the influence of him who they 
feared would otherwise put an end to the craft by which they 
had their wealth, to make use of means which, in pity to poor 
human nature, would I gladly consign to oblivion, and shall, 

* From a "large pamphlet, entitled " Grant Thorburn and Thomas 
Paine, " recently put forth gratis by Mr. Oliver White, I learn that a reli- 
gious publisher in New York has, within a few years past, had to pay dam- 
ages for a malicious article aimed at the character of Paine, but which inci- 
dentally hit somebody else ; which article, it is but justice to the publisher's 
memory (for he is now dead) to say, he was betrayed into publishing, proba- 
bly without any ill intention on his part 



PERIOD THIRD. 73 

r 

-therefore, mention only some prominent cases. I have 
named Cheetham, as he was a public character an editor. 
But I shall in mercy let the names of the private individuals 
who were the tools which the priesthood made use of in this 
connection, sink beneath contempt ; in fact, I feel not alto- 
gether guiltless of sacrilege, in placing the name of any one 
of Thomas Paine's slanderers in the same volume which con- 
tains his. 

It has herein been indubitably proven that the first part 
of " The Age of Reason," the first of Paine's " infidel " pro- 
ductions, be it remembered, was written in 1793 ; and that 
the second part was written some time thereafter. Franklin 
died in 1790. Yet the " American Tract Society" has not 
scrupled to assert, in a tract entitled " Don't Unchain the 
Tiger," that " When an infidel production was submitted 
probably by Paine to Benjamin Franklin, in manuscript, 
he returned it to the author, with a letter, from which the 
following is extracted : " I would advise you not to attempt 
UNCHAINING THE TIGER, but to burn this piece before it is seen 
by any other person" " If men are so wicked with religion , 
wJiat would tJiey be WITHOUT it ?" 

" Think" said he to Paine, in a letter, to which allusion 
has been made, " how many inconsiderate and inexperienced 
jouth of both sexes there are, who have need of the motives of 
religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and 
retain them in the practice of it tiU it becomes habitual." 

It will be perceived that the above pretended extract is 
given as though it was verbatim ; though from a letter which, 
in a very circuitous manner, and one most ingeniously calcu- 
lated to deceive is, after all, confessed to be only "probably" 
written. The concluding portion of the extract, is given 
only after considerable pious dust has been most artistically 
thrown in the eyes of the more prayerful than careful reader. 
Here, the author of " Don't Unchain the Tiger," resolves no 
longer to let " I dare not, wait upon I would," but fully de- 
clares, though in a manner that would do credit to the most 
trickish Jesuit, that ever mentally reserved the truth, that the 
" letter to which mention has been made," was written by 
FRANKLIN to Paine, evidently, as all can see, who have mas- 
tered the second rule of arithmetic, three years after the death 
of the writer." Yet Protestants laugh at Catholics, for swal- 
lowing transubstantiation. 

How firmly did they who put forth " Don't Unchain 
The Tiger," believe in revelation ? How much faith had 



74 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

they, in the truth of a book wherein it is printed, that " God >f 
had declared " Liars shall have their part in the lake that 
burns with fire and brimstone ?" 

Mark this "probably" well. There is in it such an ex- 
quisiteness of all that is mean, cowardly, mendacious, and con- 
temptible. 

If the writer of " Don't Unchain the Tiger " ever saw any 
letter from which he extracted what he pretends he has, did 
not that letter inform him, past all " probably," and before 
he made the first part of the extract, BY whom, and TO whom, 
it was written ? 

Oh, ye priests ! How low are ye fallen ! What lower 
depths can human degradation touch ? How much smaller 
can you, your own contemptible selves, suppose the intellect- 
ual calibre of your poor dupes to be ? What satisfaction can 
you feel in the reverence of those whose understandings you 
thus estimate ? 

Compare the present position, in the social organism, of 
your sincere disciples, with that which they occupied when 
what you teach was the highest which man was prepared to 
receive. 

But unless my memory serves me very badly, this "Tiger" 
tract was originally published without the " probably ;" and 
unequivocally named the " Age of Reason." I recollect well r 
that about twenty-five years ago, a committee, one of whom 
was the famous infidel lecturer, the late Mr. Benjamin Offen, 
called at the Tract Society's agency, and pointed out how 
impossible it was that this " Tiger" publication which hailed 
from thence, could be true ; and I am strongly impressed that 
this miserable "probably " has been the result. 

Clergymen, it is neither in malice nor anger, but with 
feelings of unfeigned sorrow and pity, that I use such lan- 
guage to and respecting you. I have not a wish that would 
not be gratified, were you at this moment at the head of man- 
kind, teaching the Jcnowable ; and until you are worthily rein- 
stated in youi -rightful your natural position in the social 
organism, violence, fraud, humbug in fine, demagogism, will 
there revel, and you will be its degraded purveyor. How do 
you relish the impudence with which demagogism now snubs 
you back to the " supernatural," whenever you dare utter a 
practical word ? 

I could fill twenty pages or more with extracts, many of 
them documentary, from previous histories of Paine, going to 
prove that the author of " The Age of Reason " never recanted. 



PERIOD THIRD. 75 

But can it be possible that those who possess a spark of rea- 
son, even, can consider the matter of the slightest consequence? 
The question of the truth or falsehood of a proposition is a 
matter for the judgment to decide. Is the judgment of a dying 
man more clear than that of a perfectly healthy one ? Was 
there ever an instance known, of a human biped being so big 
a fool, as to go to a dying man for advice in preference to 
going to him for it when he was in health, where any Itnoivn 
value was concerned ? The thing is too absurd to waste an- 
other word upon ; and I have noticed it at all, only to show 
to what meanness* modern priests will stoop ; to what miser- 
able shifts the corrupt hangers on to the superanuated and 
effete, are at length reduced. At this day the wretched for- 
tune-teller who deals out supernaturalism by the fifty cents 
worth, may justly feel proud by the side of the archbishop 
by the side of the successors of those who, before the dawn of 
science, taught the highest which man was capable of receiv- 
ing, thus starting civilization into existence, and justly be- 
coming mightier than kings. But the time is fast approach- 
ing when they will teach the knowable and efficient, and re- 
sume their natural position, that of the head of the social or- 
ganism. Till when, confusion will keep high holiday, folly 
be rampant, ignorance supreme, and superstition and dema- 
gogism will be rife. The case is as clear as this : Man 
comes into the world ignorant, and of course needs teaching. 
Yet what has been palmed off on man for elective govern- 
ment, confessedly but represents him. The clergy professedly 
teach him ; and of course, when they teach him right, as they 
will soon find out that it is immeasurably more for their own 
advantage to do, than it is to teach him wrong, all will be 
well. The human race will, from that point in teaching, 
rapidly develop into a harmoniously regulated organism ; a 
grand being, or God, to whom all the conceivable and de- 
sirable will be possible. Each individual will act as freely 
as do the wheels and springs of a perfect, because scientifically 
and artistically, and harmoniously regulated time-keeper. 

At whatever stage of development caucus-and-ballot-box- 
ism takes charge of man, it assumes that he is, in the main, 
wise enough already ; that the majority is the fountain-head 
of both wisdom and power ; that rulers are legitimately but 
the servants of the ruled. What balderdash. 

The only government, except that of despotism or hum- 
bug, that man ever has had, now has, or ever can have, was, 



76 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE. 

is, and must be, under simple nature, that of science and art 
that of teaching. 

"Let me make the people's songs, and I care not who 
makes their laws," said Napoleon. " Let me make the peo- 
ple's cradle-hymns and Sunday-school catechisms," say I, 
" and I will defy all the power which can be brought against 
me to supplant me in their government, except by adopting 
my method." 

And when the people's cradle-hymns and Sunday school 
catechisms are composed by those who qualify themselves to 
lead, direct, or govern mankind by science " and art, and who 
derive human law from the whole body of the knowable, in- 
stead of from the wild ' regions of the speculative, and from 
the arbitrary subjective, the world will be delivered from 
religious, political, social, and moral quackery ; but not till 
then. And to whomsoever says " lo here," " lo there," or lo 
any where except to the science of sciences and art of arts ol 
how to be free, I say, and appeal for my justification, to the 
entire past, you are deceived or a deceiver. 

If the world was not deluded with the idea that reason 
and free discussion are the only means that are available 
against priestcraft and statecraft, it would long since have 
discovered and applied the true remedy, viz : to seize the 
citadel of the infant mind of education ; and thus institute 
a religion and government of science and art, in place of a 
religion of mystery and a government of despotism and hum- 
bug. False religion and its correlate bad government, 
must be prevented. Whatever religious or governmental no- 
tions are bred into man, can never to any efficient extent, be 
got out of him. 

Priestcraft and statecraft, in England and the United 
States, would like nothing better than an assurance, that 
mankind's reformers would henceforth confine their efforts to 
reason and free discussion, and to the furtherance of educa- 
tion on its present plan in all our schools and colleges. Priest- 
craft and statecraft would then forever be as safe as would a 
well regulated army among undisciplined savages, who did 
nothing but find fault with their oppressors ; and to the va- 
rious cliques of which savages, the regulars would suggest as 
many various plans for their own -(the' regular's) overthrow, 
for them, (the savages) to discuss over and divide upon. 

In one of the most purely monarchical countries in all 
Europe (Germany) common school and collegiate education 
prominently form one of the government's pet projects. 



PERIOD THIRD. 77 

In England, where the wheels of the state machinery 
mutually neutralize each other's action, neither monarchs nor 
ecclesiastics can do aught but keep themselves miserably 
rich, and the great body of the people wretchedly poor. 

Free discussion and reason have done what little good in 
church and state affairs it was their function to do, except as 
will be hereinafter mentioned ; anfl they are now in both Eng- 
land and the United States, but the safety-valve which pre- 
Tents the boiler of the ecclesiastical steam-engine from burst- 
ing ; and secures political despotism, swindling, and corrup- 
tio*n, from having to do any thing but change hands. 

Reason and free discussion are now the fifth wheel of the 
car of progress, whose useless noise and comparatively singu- 
lar appearance diverts attention from the slow ; nay, back- 
ward movement, of the other four wheels, and thus prevents 
any change for the better being made. 

If, on the continent of Europe, monarchs and the Pope 
forbid political and religious free discussion, it is not because 
they are afraid that the first will lead to liberty, or the sec- 
ond to practical wisdom. They are perfectly aware that/ree 
talking but disturbs political and religious affairs ; and would 
only displace themselves who are well seated in, and have 
grown fat on, religious and political abuse, to make way for 
an ungorged shoal of political and ecclesiastical leeches. 

Passing lightly over the pitiable trash which in the 
United States more than in any other country is palmed off 
on the multitude for knowledge, look at our higher litera- 
ture. See how it truckles to the low, and narrow, and un- 
scientific views which confessedly had their rise when man was 
a mere savage. Where, throughout the United States, is the 
magazine which has the liberal and independent tone of the 
Westminster Review, which hails from the capital of mon- 
archy- governed and confessedly church-taxed England ? The 
most independent magazine of which the United States can 
boast, is the " Atlantic Monthly ;" but I have strong misgiv- 
ings as to whether they whose monied interests are staked 
in it will thank me, or would thank any one, for such 
praise. 

But the orthodox clergy are already, owing almost whol- 
ly to what mere fractional science and art have done, the laugh- 
ing-stock of nearly the entire scientific world, and the head- 
clergy are writhing under the tortures of self-contempt, in 
such agony, that the main drift of their preaching is to try, 
without arousing their dupes, to let the knowing ones (whom 



t 78 LIFE OF THOMAS PAINE. 

curiosity, interest, or a desperate attempt to dispel Sabbatical 
ennui may have brought into their congregations) see that 
they are not the fools which they, for bread and butter's sake, 
pretend to be. 

The following extract from a letter of Baron Humboldt 
to his friend Varnhagen Yon Ense, is a fair sample of the con- 
tempt in which the apostles* of mystery are held by men of 
science : 

" BERLIN, March 21, 1842. 

" My dear friend, so happily restored to me ! It is a 
source of infinite joy to me to learn, from your exquisite let- 
ter, that the really very delightful society of the Princess's 
has benefited you physically, and, therefore, as I should say, 
in my criminal materialism, mentally also. Such a society, 
blown together chiefly from the same fashionable world of 
Berlin (somewhat flat and stale), immediately takes a new 
shape in the house of Princess Pueckler. It -is like the spi- 
rit which should breathe life into the state ; the material 
seems ennobled. 

" I still retain your " Christliche Glaubenslehre," [a cel- 
ebrated work on the Christian Dogma, by Dr. David Fried- 
rich Strauss] I who long ago in Potsdam, was so delighted 
with Strauss's Life of the Saviour.* One learns from it not 
only what he does not believe, which is less new to me, but 
rather what kind of things have been believed and taught 
by those black coats (parsons) who know how to enslave 
mankind anew, yea, who are putting on the armour of their 
former adversaries." 

But a still more encouraging aspect of the case is, that a 
knowledge of the great truth is rapidly spreading, that all in 
the human connection is a vast material organism, the possible 
modifications of which are indicated by the organ of its high- 
est consciousness, man ; and that the whole family of man 
is a grand social organism, (however, as yet, unjointed) the 
well-being of every part of which, is indispensable to that of 
every other part. But more of this, shortly. 

Mr. Paine suffered greatly during his last illness, (his dis- 
ease being dropsy, attended with cough and constant vomit- 

* Humboldt's Letters to Varnhagen Von Ense, have just been published 
by Messrs. Rudd & Carleton : and Strauss' Life of the Saviour, or, to give 
the work its full title, " The Life of Jesus Critically Examined," is published 
by Calvin Blanchard. The translation is by Marian Evans, the accomplished 
authoress; of Adam Bede, and is pronounced by Strauss himself to be moet 
elegantly done and perfectly correct 



PERIOD THIRD. 79 

ing), yet his mental faculties remained unimpaired to the last. 
On the 8th of June. 1809, about nine o'clock in the forenoon, 
he expired, almost without a struggle. 

I have, as the reader has seen, noticed some of the little 
foibles and excentricities of Mr. Paine ; not, however, that 
they were of any account, but simply because they attest that 
he was not superhumanly perfect* that he was not that ridi- 
culous cross between man and " God/ 7 which the biographers 
of Washington have placed him in the position of appearing 
to be. 

Lovers are sure to have their petty quarrels, else, they 
would be indifferent to each other ; and when prejudice shall 
be done away with, mankind will love Thomas Paine none 
the less for the human frailties which were just sufficient to 
show that he belonged to human nature. 

The day after Mr. Paine's death, his remains were taken 
to New Rochelle, attended by a few friends, and there buried 
on his farm ; and a plain stone was erected, with the follow- 
ing inscription : 

THOMAS PAINE, 

AUTHOR OP " COMMON SENSE." 

Died June 8, 1809, aged seventy-two years and jive, months. 

Mr. William Cobbett afterward removed the bones of 
Mr. Paine to England. 

In 1839, through the exertions of a few friends of the lib- 
eral cause, among whom Mr. G. Vale was very active, a neat 
monument, was erected over the grave of Mr. Paine. Mr. 
Frazee, an eminent artist, generously volunteered to do the 
sculpture. This monument cost about thirteen hundred dol- 
lars. On it is carved a representation of the head of Mr. 
Paine, underneath which, is this inscription 

THOMAS PAINE, 

AUTHOR OP 

COMMON SENSE. 

Reader, did it ever occur to you, that all the crimes which 
an individmal can commit, are in reality, summed up in the 
word misfortune? Such is the fact. Society, therefore, not 
altogether without reason, however regardless of justice, con- 
siders nothing more disgraceful than misfortune ; and hence it 



80 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE 

is, that of all the slanders got up to injure the reputation of 
Mr. Paine, and thus prevent his influence, none have been 
more industriously circulated, and none have proved more 
successful, than those which represented him as being in ex- 
treme poverty. Without further remark, therefore, I shall 
call your attention to 

THE WILL OF THOMAS PAINE. 

" The People of the State of New York, by the Grace of God. 
Free and Independent, to all to whom these presents shall 
come or may concern, Send Greeting : 

Know ye that the annexed is a true copy of the will of 
Thomas Paine, deceased, as recorded in the office of our sur- 
rogate, in and for the city and county of New York. In tes- 
timony whereof, we have caused the seal of office of our said 
surrogate to be hereunto affixed. Witness, Silvanus Miller, 
Esq., surrogate of said county, at the city of New York, the 
twelfth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
eight hundred and nine, and of our independence the thirty- 
fourth. SILVANUS MILLER. 

The last will and testament of me, the subscriber, Thomas 
Paine, reposing confidence in my Creator God, and in no 
other being, for I know of no other, nor believe in any other, 
I, Thomas Paine, of the State of New York, author of the 
work entitled ' Common Sense,' written in Philadelphia, in 

1775, and published in that city the beginning of January, 

1776, which awaked America to a Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, on the fourth of July following, which was as fast as 
the work could spread through such an extensive country ; 
author also of the several numbers of the ' American Crisis ' 
thirteen in all/ published occasionally during the progress of 
the revolutionary war the last is on the peace ; author also 
of the ' Rights of Man/ parts the first and second, written 
and published in London, in 1791, and '92 ; author also of a 
work on religion, ' Age of Reason/ parts the first and second. 
' N. B. I have a third part by me in manuscript and an an- 
swer to the Bishop of Landaff ;' author also of a work, lately 
published, entitled ' Examination of the passages in the New 
Testament quoted from the Old, and called prophesies con- 
cerning Jesus Christ/ and showing there are no prophecies 
of any such person ; author also of several other works not 
here enumerated, ' Dissertations on the first Principles of Go- 
vernment/ ' Decline and Fall of the English System of Fi- 
nance ' ' Agrarian Justice" etc., etc., make this my last will 



PERIOD THIRD. 81 

and testament, <fcut A $ to say : I give and bequeath to my exe- 
cutors hereinafter appointed, Walter Morton and Thomas Ad- 
dis Emmet, thirty shares 1 hold in the New York Phoenix In- 
surance Company, which cost me 1470 dollars, they are worth 
now upward of 1500 dollars, and all my moveable effects, and 
also the money that may be in my trunk or elsewhere at the 
time of my decease, paying thereout the expenses of my fune- 
ral, in trust as to the said shares, moveables, and money, for 
Margaret Brazier Bonneville, wife of Nicholas Bonneville, 
of Paris, for her own sole and separate use, and at her own 
disposal, notwithstanding her coverture. As to my farm in 
New Eochelle, I give, devise, and bequeath the same to my 
said executors, Walter Morton and Thomas Addis Emmet, 
and to the survivor of them, his heirs and assigns for ever, 
in trust, nevertheless, to sell and dispose of the north side 
thereof, now in the occupation of Andrew A. Dean, beginning 
at the west end of the orchard and running in a line with the 

land sold to .Coles, to the end of the farm, and to apply 

the money arising from such sale as hereinafter directed. I 
give to my friends, Walter Morton, of the New York Phoenix 
Insurance Company, and Thomas Addis Emmet, counsellor- 
at-law, late of Ireland, two hundred dollars each, and one 
hundred dollars to Mrs. Palmer, widow of Elihu Palmer, late 
of New York, to be paid out of the money arising from said 
sale, and I give the remainder of the money arising from that 
sale, one half thereof to Clio Rickman, of High or Upper 
Mary-la-bone street, London, and the other half to Nicholas 
Bonneville of Paris, husband of Margaret B. Bonneville afore- 
said : and as to the south part of the said farm, containing 
upward of one hundred acres, in trust, to rent out the same 
or otherwise put it to profit, as shall be found most advis- 
able, and to pay the rents and profits thereof to the said Mar- 
garet B. Bonneville, in trust for her children, Benjamin 
Bonneville and Thomas Bonneville, their education and 
maintenance, until they come to the age of twenty-one years, 
in order that she may bring them well up, give them good 
and useful learning, and instruct them in their duty to God, 
and the practice of morality, the rent of the land or the in- 
terest of the money for which it may be sold, as hereinafter 
mentioned, to be employed in their education. And after 
the youngest of the said children shall have arrived at the 
age of twenty-one years, in further trust to convey the same 
to the said children share and share alike in fee simple. But 
if it shall be thought advisable by my executors and execu- 



82 LIFE OP THOMAS PAINE. 

trix, or the survivor or survivors of them, at any time before 
the youngest of the said children shall come of age, to sell 
and dispose of the said south side of the said farm, in that case 
I hereby authorize and empower my said executors to sell and 
dispose of the same, and I direct that the money arising from 
such sale be put into 7 stock, either in the United States bank 
stock or New York Phoenix Insurance company stock, the in- 
terest or dividends thereof to be applied as is already direct- 
ed, for the education and maintenance of the said children ; 
and the principal to be transferred to the said children or the 
survivor of them on his or their coming of age. I know not if 
the society of people called quakers admit a person to be bu- 
ried in their burying-ground, who does not belong to their so- 
ciety, but if they do, or will admit me, I would prefer being 
buried there, my father belonged to that profession, and I was 
partly brought up in it. But if it is not consistent with their 
rules to do this, I desire to be buried on my farm at New Ro- 
chelle. The place where I am to be buried to be a square 
of twelve feet, to be enclosed with rows of trees, and a stone 
or post and railed fence, with a head-stone with my name 
and age engraved upon it, author of ' Common Sense.' I 
nominate, constitute, and appoint Walter Morton, of the 
New York Phoenix Insurance company, and Thomas Addis 
Emmet, counsellor-at-law, late of Ireland, and Margaret B. 
Bonneville my executors and executrix to this my last will 
and testament, requesting them the said Walter Morton and 
Thomas Addis Emmet, that they will give what assistance 
they conveniently can to Mrs. Bonneville, and see that the 
children be well brought up. Thus placing confidence in 
their friendship, I herewith take my final leave of them and 
of the world. I have lived an honest and useful life to man- 
kind ; my time has been spent in doing good ; and I die in 
perfect composure and resignation to the will of my Creator 
God. Dated this eighteenth day of January, in the year one 
thousand eight hundred and nine, and I have also signed my 
name to the other sheet of this will in testimony of its being 
a part thereof. THOMAS PAINE. (L. s.) 

Signed, sealed, and published and declared by the testa- 
tor, in our presence, who, at his request, and in the presence 
of each other, have set our names as witnesses thereto, the 
words ' published and declared ' first interlined. 

WILLIAM KEESE. 
JAMES ANGEVIEN, 
CORNELIUS RYDEB." 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 88 

I have now, so far as I can discover, recorded all the 
facts in relation to Thomas Paine, with which the public 
have any concern. I have even repeated some things (under 
protest, be it remembered) with which the public have no 
business whatever. 

But the most important part of the task which, on refer- 
ence to my title-page, it will be perceived that I undertook 
remains to be completed. 

Every one will unquestionably draw their own conclu- 
sions from facts or what they consider such. But I assure 
all whom it may concern, that I should not consider myself 
justified in troubling them with my views on matters of the 
vast importance of religion or highest law, and govern- 
ment or social science, had I not devoted to these subjects 
long years of assiduous preparation ; had I not, rightly or 
wrongly, systemised facts; even now, I do so with a full 
consciousness of my need of vastly more light. 

Facts, separately considered, are but the unconnected 
links of a chain ; truth is the chain itself. Facts, in them- 
selves, are worth nothing ; it is only the truths that are de- 
ducible from them through their systemization that is of use. 
Brick, and mortar, and beams, are facts ; entirely useless, 
however, until systemized into an edifice. Every man's life 
is a fact, but the lives of such men as Rousseau, Paine, 
Comte, Luther, and Fourier, are sublime truths which are 
to help to give to the lives of the individuals of our race, all 
that can be conceived of even " eternal" value. 

Strictly speaking, all authors are, like Paine, and Rous- 
seau, and Comte, heroes. But those writers who merely re- 
vamp, or polish up old, worn out ideas, and then sell them 
back again to those from whom they stole, or borrowed, or 
begged them, are no more authors than they are manufactu- 
rers who steal, borrow, beg, or buy for next to nothing, old 
hats, iron them over, and sell them back for new to their 
former owners, who in their delight to find how truly they 
fit their heads, do not suspect the cheat. It's a somewhat 
dfficult thing to make new hats fit heads. It's a Herculean task 
to make new ideas fit them. It's next to impossible to make 
new habits fit mankind. 

The American Revolution, of which Paine was the " au- 
thor hero," and the French Revolution, of which Rousseau 
was the great mover, were, as I trust we have already seen, 
but closely connected incidents in the grand Revolution which 
began with man's instinctive antagonism to all which stair 1 .- 



34 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

in the way of the perfect liberty which nature has, by one and 
the same act, given him both the desire for, and the assu- 
rance of. 

All which exists or has taken place, is connected with all 
which ever has existed, or will exist or take place ; and un- 
less the historian shows that connection, so far as it has a 
perceptibly practical bearing, history becomes but a mere col- 
lections of curious, and otherwise barren details. 

I have before directed the attention of the reader to the 
fact, that whoever penned the Declaration of our National 
Independence, must have well studied Rousseau's " Contrai 
Social." 

The Rev. Dr. Smith, in his " Divine Drama of History 
and Civilization," speaks thus of the relation of Rousseau to 
his times : 

" Rousseau was the avenging spirit of the Evangelical 
Protestants whom monarchical France had massacred or 
banished. He had the blood and the soul of the Presbyterian 
in him : but he was drunk with vengeance, and he had, accord- 
ing to his own confession, imbibed with his mother's milk the 
hatred of kings, and nourished that hate and kept it warm. 
He declared that though man was born free he was every- 
where in chains. Being gifted with great eloquence, he de- 
lighted his readers. He realized the government of the peo- 
ple and became the soul of the Revolution." 

" Twelve hundred human individuals," says Thomas Car- 
lyle, " with the Gospel of Jean Jacques Rousseau in their 
pocket, congregating in the name of twenty-five millions, 
with full assurance of faith, to " make the Constitution :" 
such sight, the acme and main product of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, our World can witness only once. For time is rich in 
wonders, in monstrosities most rich ; and is observed never to 
repeat himself or any of his Gospels : surely least of all this 
Gospel according to Jean Jacques. Once it was right and 
indispensable, since such had become the belief of man ; but 
once also is enough." 

" They have made the Constitution, these Twelve Hun- 
dred-Jean-Jacques Evangelists." 

" A new Fifth Evangelist, Jean-Jacques, calling on men 
to amend each the whole world's wicked existence, and be 
saved by making the Constitution." 

Thomas Carlyle in innumerable other cases speaks most lov- 
ingly of " Poor Jean Jacques." In an elaborate critical esti- 
mate of Rousseau and the men of the 18th century, he says : 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 86 

" Hovering in the distance with use struck minatory air- 
stern-beckoning, comes Rousseau. Poor Jean- Jacques ! Al- 
ternately deified and cast to the dogs : a deep-minded, high- 
minded, even noble, yet woefully misarranged mortal, with 
all the misformations of nature intensified to the verge of 
madness by unfavorable Fortune. A lonely man ; his life a 
long soliloquy ! The wandering Tiresias of his time ; in 
whom, however, did lie prophetic meaning, such as none of 
the others offer. His true character, with its lofty aspirings 
and poor performings ; and how the spirit of the man worked 
so wildly like celestial fire in a thick, dark element of chaos, 
and shot forth etherial radiance, all piercing lightning, yet 
could not illuminate, was quenched and did not conquer ; this 
with what lies in it, may now be pretty accurately apprecia- 
ted." etc. 

The world-famous " Confessions " of Rousseau, have also 
powerfully stimulated revolt against the most despotic of ty- 
rannies that ever enchained the human race. No romance 
was ever half so interesting. With resistless power their au- 
thor compels us to himself. Every page chains the rea- 
der with electric fascination. With absorbing interest we 
follow him in every step of his strange sad life. Not a scene 
in the Confessions but what has formed the subject for a mas- 
ter piece by some great artist. Rousseau was one of those 
men whose fame the world has taken into its own hands. 
One of those big-hearted, truth-loving, high-aspiring yet sad- 
fated, stumbling men, whose sufferings have been made up for by 
an eternal meed of tenderness and love. He has been taken 
into the heart of mankind. 

Perhaps nothing could more markedly manifest the place 
Jean Jacques holds in the heart of the world than the love 
and reverence which have been lavished on him by all the 
high-souled poets and writers in every land since his day. 
Goethe, Schiller, Jean Paul, Shelley, Brougham, Byron, Car- 
lyle, Tennyson, etc. etc. All that is fresh and lofty and spi- 
ritual in the new French school of Poetry and Literature, is 
distinctly traceable to Rousseau. Bernadin de Saint Pierre, 
Mad. de Stael, Chateaubriand, Lamartine, etc., etc., were suc- 
cessively formed under his influence and adoringly worship- 
ped him as their master. Thomas Carlyle in a conversation 
with Emerson, (see English Traits, p. 22,) while speaking of 
the men who had influenced the formation of his character, 



86 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

declared that Rousseau's Confessions had * discwered to him 
that he (Carlyle) was not a dunce.. 

R. W. Emerson, too, speaks of " The Confessions " as a 
book so important in literature, that it was weU worth while fe 
translate * * its courage and precision of thought win keep it 
good." 

And the high-souled SchiUer hymns Rousseau thus : 

" Hail grave of Rousseau ! here thy troubles cease ! 
Thy life one search for freedom and for peace : 
Thee peace and freedom life did ne'er allow : 
Thy search is ended, and thou find'st them now ! 
When will the old wounds scar ! In the dark age 
Perish'd the wise. Light comes how fared the sage ? 
The same in darkness or in light his fate, 
Time brings no mercy to the bigot's hate 1 
Socrates charmed Philosophy to dwell 
On earth ; by false philosophers he fell : 
In Rousseau Christians marked their victim when 
Rousseau endeavored to make Christians men I' 1 

Reader, please to skip the next six paragraphs, unless 
you can pardon a digression, (and I must confess to have 
given you some exercise in that respect already) and unless 
you furthermore love liberty, justice, and equal rights, not as 
things to be merely talked about, sung about, and " fought, 
bled and died " about, but as practical realities. 

In a state of bliss in perfect contrast with what generally 
passes for married life, Rousseau spent several years with 
Madam De Warens ; a lady of noble birth, who was in com- 
fortable circumstances, enjoying a pension from Victor Ama- 
deus, king of Sardinia. She was the wife of a man with whom 
she could not live happily, and from whom she therefore sepa- 
rated. Rousseau, in his " Confessions'" thus describes her : 
" All who loved her, loved each other. Jealousy and rivalry 
themselves yielded to the dominant sentiment she inspired ; 
and I never saw any of those who surrounded her, entertain 
the slightest ill will towards each other." " I hazard the as- 
sertion, that if Socrates could esteem Aspasia, he would have 
respected Madam de Warens." " Let my reader," continues 
the enamoured philosopher, " pause a moment at this eulogy ; 
and if he has in his mind's eye any other woman of whom he 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 37 

can say this mudh, let him, as ho values his life's repose, 
cleave to her, were she, for the rest, the lowest of drabs. 

After eight years of bliss with Madam de Warens, that 
lady's taste, though not her affections, changed. Rousseau, 
also wishing to visit Paris, they parted in perfect friendship. 
At Paris, Rousseau resumed the free-love connection with 
The're'se Le Vasseur, a young girl of small accomplishments, 
but of a most amiable disposition. Some of the highest no- 
bles in France (including the king and queen) did not disdain 
to treat her with marked respect ; and after Rousseau's 
death, the government of France pensioned Therese, instead 
of letting her die of hunger, as the government of England, 
to its eternal disgrace, suffered Lady Hamilton, the mistress 
of Lord Nelson, to do, although to that accomplished Lady 
and to her influence and shrewd management at the court of 
Naples, England owes the victory of Trafalgar. One morn- 
ing, whilst the king and his ministers lay snoring, she man- 
aged to obtain from her intimate friend the queen, a permit 
for her gallant free-lover, Nelson, to water his fleet at Nap- 
les ; but for which, he could not have pursued and conquered 
the French at Trafalgar. His last request of the country for 
whose cause he was dying, was, " Take care of my dear 
Lady Hamilton." 

Yet England was too " virtuous " to prevent Lady Hamil- 
ton from depending on the charity of a poor French washer- 
woman ; and from having, at last, to starve to death, in a 
garret, in the capital of the nation whose navy had been al- 
most destroyed through her management and her lover's bra- 
very. " Virtue " and " piety " readily accept the services of 
those they impudently style " vicious " and " profane," but 
generally consider it very scandalous to reward them. 

Some of the most " virtuous " citizens in every country in 
Christendom do not hesitate to eat the bread and wear the 
clothes purchased with the rent of those curses inseparable 
from present social institutions, prostitution dens ; and 
churches and missionaries, draw large revenues from these 
" necessary evils " as they are cantingly called. Necessary 
evils ? If there is a " sin " which &jmt " God " could punish, 
it is that of admitting that there exists '' necessary evils ;" 
for this " sin " is a most efficient prolonger of the damnation 
of the human race. 

But England did build monuments to Nelson, and lie has 
had all the honor of the victory of Trafalgar. Why did not 
Lady Hamilton come in for a share of that honor? In addi- 



88 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

tion to what we have seen she did to procure that victory,. 

can any gallant man doubt, that her charms were the main 

stimulus of Nelson's courage ? What dangers would not a 
man that was a man brave, in order to swell with delight, 
admiration, and just approval, the heart of her whom he 

adored, and who freely loved him ? 

. Reader, did you ever ask yourself why it is that gallant 
men (and almost all notable men are gallant) are applauded 
in high society, and are comparatively little blamed or frowned 
upon among the million? Surely, gallantry in woman is 
really no more " vicious " than it is in man ; it is simply because, 
owing to ignorance with respect to the regulation of love af- 
fairs, it is more inconvenient, that it is more discountenanced. 
It is because women have to be, under present institutions, 
considered as chattels ; as articles of luxury; which no man 
wants to be at the expense of, except for his own pleasure, 
of course. But for ignorance of how tofuEy gratify every natu- 
ral desire, there would be no such words as either virtue or 
vice in the dictionary ; and however amiable it is for people 
to forbear to gratify themselves in any respect, at the expense 
of others, still, we should constantly bear in mind, that all the 
honor that has ever been bestowed on " virtue " and self-de- 
nial, is primarily due to ignorance and poverty ; to ignorance 
of how to create the means whereby to dispense with " virtue." 
self-denial, ay, and even that most virtuous of all the virtues, 
charity ; to ignorance of how to develop, modify, and com- 
bine the substantial, till desire is but the measure of fulfill- 
ment till to will is but the precursor of to nave. 

Human progress is generally divisible into three ages : 
the age of mystery, the age of reason, and the age of practi- 
cal science and art. ' These answer to the theological, the cri- 
tical, and the positive stages of the Grand Revolution just 
alluded to ; of which revolution, the " author hero " was Au 

GUSTE COMTE. 

Rousseau and Paine had their forerunner in Martin Lu- 
ther ; Comte's John Baptist was Charles Fourier. 

To Martin Luther and Charles Fourier, mankind are al- 
most as much indebted, as to those for whom these prepared 
the way. 

Fourier was far more in advance of his time than wap 
Luther ; still, Luther's step was much the most perilous to 
himself. Whoever can look on the picture [I saw it in the 
Dusseldorff Gallery] of Luther at the Diet of Worms, with 
dry eyes, without feeling an admiration near akin to adora- 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 89 

tion for The Man who would go where the cause of -liberty 
called him, " though there should be there as many devils as 
tiles on the roofs," must be made of sterner stuff than I am. 

Look on that incarnation of bravery. See how undaunted 
that single representative of the cause of the human race 
stands, amidst the terrible array of princes and bishops. 
There were six hundred of them ; headed by the Emperor him- 
self. 

As fearlessly as Paine first openly pronounced those trea- 
sonable words " American Independence," Luther has 
dared to burn the Pope's bull, even when there was not a 
crowned head in all Christendom, but trembled at that awful 
document. Surely the heart that warms for Paine must glow 
for Luther. Materialist though I am, I do reverence that 
brave monk. Had the Elector of Saxony been the most ab- 
solute monarch that ever reigned ; and had the Landgrave 
of Hesse, taken as many wives* and concubines as the wisest 
man, in Jehovah's estimation, that ever was or ever will be, 
is said to have had, these princes would nevertheless deserve 
the eternal gratitude of mankind, for the protection they af- 
forded to the great apostle of reform, but for the division, in 
the ranks of despotism, which he created, a Rousseau and a 
Paine could not so soon have preached liberty, nor could a 
Fourier and a Comte as yet have indicated how to put it into 
practice. 

To the zeal and liberality of Mr. Albert Brisbane, 
and to the scholarship of Mr. Henry Clapp, Jr., are English 
readers indebted for an introduction to Fourier's great work, 
" The Social Destiny of Man^\ And the same class of readers 
are similarly indebted to Mr. Lombe and Miss Harriet Mar- 
tineas:}: (the latter aided by professor Nichol) for being en- 

* " All the theologians of Wittemberg assembled to draw up an answer 
[to the Landgrave's petition to be allowed to have two wives,] and the re- 
8ult was a compromise. He was allowed a double marriage, on condition 
that his second wife should not be publicly recognized." 

" If, nevertheless, your highness is fully resolved to take a second wile, 
w? are of opinion that the marriage should be secret." 

" Given at Wittemberg, after the festival of St. Nicholas, 1539, Mar- 
tin Luthar, Philipp Melancthon, Martin Bucer, Antony Corvin, Adam, John 
lining, Justin Wintfert, Dionisius Melanther." Mickelets Life of Lu- 
tlier. 

Published by Calvin Blanchard. 

J Between whom and Mr. Atkinson, there took place that admirabk 
correspondence on the subject of the " Laws of Mtui's Nature and Develop 



90 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

abled to acquaint themselves with " The Positive Philosophy 
of Augusts Comte."* 

These great works are carrying on a constructive, and 
therefore noiseless and unostentatious revolution ; they do 
not (particularly the latter) appeal to the common under- 
standing, and the masses will know but little about them, 
until they feel their beneficient effects. But the keen observer 
and the social artist perceive that they have already given a 
new tone to all the higher literature of Western Europe, and 
even, to some extent, to that of the United States. 

'Tis strange that they who are capacitated to think truth, 
should so generally have made the unfortunate blunder of 
not seeing that by the masses, truth of any great degree of com- 
plexity can only be felt. Their religion is addressed almost 
wholly to their feeling. Their knock-down argument to all 
opposition, is, " / feel it to be true." A more unreasonable 
scheme never emanated from Bedlam, than that of plying the 
masses with reason, on subjects so complicated as are religion 
and sociology. Has not the experiment uniformly proven 
the truth of what I here assert ? Reason is, of course, con- 
nected with every thing which a sane person voluntarily does 
or thinks of. It is connected with the construction of the 
steam engine ; and should be similarly, and only similarly 
connected with social architecture. 

Numerous experiments to which the name of Fourier ha& 
been attached, have failed. But there was not one of them 
which bore the most distant resemblance to the system of the 
great master, whose name they so over-zealously and rashly 
appropriated. 

A very successful trial of the household economies of Fou- 
rier has been going on in New York for the last three years, 
under the management of Mr. E. F. Underbill. His " Cos- 
mopolitan Hotel" comprises four elegant five story brown 
stone front houses, situated in the most fashionable part of 
Fourteenth-street. 

The world has been prevented from becoming acquainted 
with Fourier's magnificent discoveries in social architecture, 
mainly through the agency of the blackest and most impudent 
falsehood ever uttered. Fourier's system has been denounced 
as communism ; whereas it is the very opposite of that. Our 

ment," republished in a neat volume by Mr. J. P. Mendum, publisher of the 
" Boston Investigator." 

* Published by Calvin Blanchard. 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 91 

present social hodge-podge is Skidmoreism itself, when com- 
pared with the system of which " The Social Destiny of Man," 
notwithstanding its incidental and non-essential errors is a 
bold and true outline. Next in importance to the discoveries 
of Comte, are Fourier's with respect to the human passions, 
and with respect to the equitable adjustment of the claims of 
labor, skill, and capital. 

But Fourier's system was, so to speak, the edifice in ad- 
vance of the foundation on which alone it could stand. Real 
liberty, substantial happiness, and practical goodness must 
have a material basis. That basis has been furnished by Au- 
guste Comte. 

Mr. Lewes, in his Biographical History of Philosophy,* 
says : " Comte is the Bacon of the nineteenth century. Like 
Bacon, he fully sees the cause of our intellectual anarchy, and 
also sees the cure. We have no hesitation in recording our 
conviction that the Course de Philosophic Positive is the great- 
est work of our century, and will form one of the mighty 
landmarks in the history of opinion. No one before him 
ever dreamed of treating social problems otherwise than 
upon theological or metaphysical methods. He first showed 
how possible, nay, how imperative it was that social ques- 
tions, should be treated on the same footing with all other 
scientific questions." 

And Mill, in his " System of Logic,"t speaks thus of " The 
Positive Philosophy :" " A work which only requires to 
be better known, to place its author in the very highest class 
of European thinkers. * * * A sociological system widely 
removed from the vague and conjectural character of all for- 
mer attempts, and worthy to take its place, at last, among 
established sciences. * * * A work which I hold to be far 
the greatest yet produced in the Philosophy of the Sciences. 
* * * He [Comte] may truly be said to have created the 
philosophy of the higher mathematics. * * * Whose view 
of the philosophy of classification is the most erudite with 
which I am acquainted. * * * His works are the only 
source to which the reader can resort for a practical exem- 
plification of the study of social phenomena on the true prin- 
ciples of the Historical Method. Of that method I do not 
hesitate to pronounce them a model." 

* This work should be in the possession of every scientific lover of lib- 
erty. It is published by D. Appleton & Co. 
f Published by Harper & Brothers. 



92 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

" Clearness and depth, comprehensiveness and precision 
have never probably, been so remarkably united as in Au- 
guste Comte," says Professor GiUespie, of Union College, New 
York. 

The following extracts from an article (understood to be 
by Sir David Brewster) which appeared in the Edinburgh 
fieview will also give some further idea of the aim and char- 
acter of The Positive Philosophy : 

" A work of profound science, marked with great acute- 
ness of reasoning, and conspicuous for the highest attributes 
of intellectual power. It comprehends MATHEMATICS, ASTRO- 
NOMY, PHYSICS, and CHEMISTRY, or the sciences of Inorganic 
Bodies ; and PHYSIOLOGY, and SOCIAL PHYSICS, or the sciences 
of Organic Bodies. 

" Under the head of SOCIAL PHYSICS the author treats of 
the general structure of human societies, of the fundamental 
natural law of the development of the human species, and of 
the progress of civilization. This last Section is subdivided 
into three heads the THEOLOGICAL EPOCH, the METAPHYSIC- 
AL EPOCH, and the POSITIVE EPOCH the first of these embra- 
cing FETISHISM, POLYTHEISM, and MONOTHEISM." 

Referring to the Astronomical part of the work, the Re- 
viewer says, " We could have wished to place before our rea- 
ders some specimens of our author's manner of treating these 
difficult and deeply interesting topics of his simple, yet 
powerful eloquence of his enthusiastic admiration of intel- 
lectual superiority of his accuracy as a historian, his honesty 
as a judge, and of his absolute freedom from all personal and 
national feelings." 

But the mental effort which produced the "Positive Phi- 
losophy " was too much for the brain of any one man to make 
with impunity, as the subsequent writings of the great posi- 
tivist show. With respect to these, and particularly to Com- 
te's Positive Religion, Mr. Lewes very considerately re- 
marks, " let us draw a veil over them ;" and I, who have 
made Comte a study, will add, that any other view than this, 
with respect to the writings which Comte sent forth to the 
world after the Positive Philosophy, is most unjust. 

The clergy are at length aware that the slander and 
abuse which they have bellowed forth from the pulpit against 
Paine, have advertised his works more effectually than ten 
per cent of their own salaries could have done through the 
newspapers ; and hence the profound silence which they 
maintain with respeo 1 to the personalty of Comte, and to tho 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 93 

name of " The Positive Philosophy" Priests know that the 
world's old religion is dead ; but they mean to prolong its 
decay to the utmost, in order to feed, like carrion crows, on 
its rotten carcass ; they therefore take every precaution 
against having it stirred up. 

Observe in what general terms the " black coats," as Hum- 
boldt styles the parsons, denounce the materialism with which 
all the high talent of the age in which we live is imbued. 
They do not wish to let their dupes know that such men as 
Humboldt and Comte did not believe in the existence of the 
extra-almighty pedant whom they seat on the throne of the 
universe. 

We have already seen that the author of " Cosmos "* not 
only held superstition and its ministers in as utter contempt 
as did he who wrote " The Age of Reason," but that he was 
furthermore a thorough materialist ; and the author of The 
Positive Philosophy has mathematically annihilated a God 
who can have no practical existence to man, together with 
the supposed foundation of a faith, the further teaching of 
which, can but hold human perfection in abeyance. Yet the 
aristocracy of Europe were proud of the companionship of 
Humboldt, and emperors and kings presented him with testi- 
monials of their high regard. 

As to Auguste Comte, it is rumored that the Emperor 
Napoleon III. held frequent conferences with him ; and the 
encouragement which that manarch is giving to men of sci- 
ence is matter of public notoriety. 

But how does " The Model Republic" compare with mo- 
narchical Europe in these vitally important matters ? Is not 
the noise which, in the United States, is made about freedom, 
as hollow as is the din with which our loud-belled churches 
call their congregations to the worship of him who they ne- 
vertheless say enjoined secret devotion ? 

In a country where no throned sovereign bears sway, 
where no crowned pope sends forth his bull forbidding the 
offices of human kindness to be extended to those who have 
incurred his displeasure, what dread tyrant willed that 
Thomas Paine should be shunned by many of his illustrious 
compeers ; that his bones should be refused a resting place 
beside those of even the least persecuting and vindictive of all 
the Christian sects ; that his name should be almost left put 
of the history of the glorious deeds which his inspiration 

* Rppublished by Messrs. Harper & Brothers, 



94 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

caused to be performed, and even to this day, be held, in 
utter abhorrence, by nearly all those for whose welfare hia 
life and spendid talents were so cheerfully devoted ? Who, 
is that tyrant ? 

" Priestcraft ! " readily answer they who zealously ad- 
vocate popular free discusson, and an appeal to popular 
opinion, as a means of finding out how to deal with those 
most important and complicated of all affairs, religion 
and government. " Priestcraft !" they exclaim ; ,as they 
lavish their carefully unsystemized sociological facts, their cri- 
tical exposition's, and their logical deductions, upon the hor- 
rified, astounded, and enraged, but not at all edified multitude. 

Well, my friends, between you and me, I must acknow- 
ledge that you have slapped that tyrant's prime minister, full 
in the face. Try it again. But first gather up your pearls, 
lest the many before whom you have indiscriminately cast 
them, and who want something of which they can make a far 
more practical and satisfactory use, turn upon and " rend you." 
"Ignorance! of course we know that priestcraft thrives 
on ignorance. Ignorance is that tyrant ;" methinks I hear 
you further answer. 

Yes, my friends, ignorance is that tyrant. But still, the 
most important, and by far most difficult question remains 
unanswered. He is not ignorance of the fact that the Bible is 
of human origin. The Bible is but one of the weather-cocks 
which tell which way the wind of popular folly blows. The 
Koran is another, and so is the Book of Mormon. And 
they are all rather useful than otherwise, as they furnish sug- 
gestions as to the course to be pursued by scientific and ar- 
tistic reformers. He is not ignorance with respect to read- 
ing, writing, geography, grammar, arithmetic, Greek, Latin ; 
in short, he is not ignorance of anything which has hitherto 
been taught or thought of in any school or college. 

I'll tell you what lie is ignorance of, presently ; and, at the 
same time, I will demonstrate how to liberate man from his 
despotism, and rescue the memory of Thomas Paine from the 
reproach which has been so unjustly, so blindly, or else so un- 
intentionally heaped upon it. 

Are such rights as English Constitutionalism can give us 
worth contending for ? Independence is the only measure 
that can be of any avail ; substantially said Thomas Paine to 
those more cautious rebels who, at the commencement of " the 
times that t'?ied men's souls," were ' glooming pver the miser- 
able effects which half measure* had produced. 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 9b 

Are such shams of rights as eaucus-and-ballot-boxism can 
give us, worth spending any more time, and money, and agi- 
tation upon ? I ask, and appeal to what has been most lying- 
ly named free government in Greece, Rome, England, Ve- 
nice, France, the United States, and wherever else it haa 
been attempted to make permanent the crisis stage of pro- 
gress which marks the departure from monarchy. No, my 
friends, Art-Liberty alone, can be of any avail. 

Art-Liberty may now sound as strange as did American 
Independence when first pronounced by Thomas Paine ; ay, 
and as treasonable, too. Still, I repeat, nothing short of 
Art-Liberty can prevent the freedom-experiment which Paine 
so powerfully incited, from failing in the United States, as 
badly as it has in e^ery other country where it has been 
tried. 

How far short of such failure is that experiment now ? 
when statesmen, and philosophers, ay, and philanthropists, 
are seriously discussing the question, whether " free laborers " 
or " slaves " have the most uncomfortable time of it ? 

Look at the opaque webb of entanglement which our *' re- 
presentatives " have wove, or " enacted " for us, and called 
" law." Look at the wretched and expensive farces which 
the administerers of these " laws " play, under the name of 
" trials." Are caucusing, balloting, " constitutions," " laws," 
and. jury-trial-jiistice the sum and substance of the liberty for 
which Paine stimulated that glorious band which Washing- 
ton led, to sacrifice their lives ? Is this the end of the revo- 
lution which " Common Sense " instigated ? 

Was the earth fertilized and the ocean reddened with hu- 
man blood, and were both earth and ocean strewn with the 
ashes and the wrecks of human skill and industry, in order 
to achieve demagogism ? In fine, are nature's resources fully 
exhausted, only to produce such a miserable abortion that 
her highest being, man, abjures her for the " supernatural ?" 
Surely this cannot be so. 

Reader, did you ever notice the fact that the United 
States Government and that of Russia are, and have always 
been on remarkably loving terms with each other ? Well, 
this is but as natural as it is for " birds of a feather to flock 
together." The political systems of both Russia and Ame- 
rica, are, about equally, as pure absolutisms as governments 
can be. In Russia, the head of the majority-despotism 
which tyranizea, is designated by birth. The Russian Gov- 
ernment is a simple despotism, modifiable by assassination. In 



96 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

the United States, the band of conspirators for wholesale 
violence and wrong, the head, or directory of the majority 
despotism which tyrannizes, is designated by caucus fraud, 
and ballot-boxjugglery ; aided by perjury, bribery, corruption, 
and by the occasional use of the fist, the bludgeon, the dag- 
ger, and the pistol. The difference between Russian and 
American 'despotism is so non-essential, that no two great 
governments in the world have shown such marked good 
feeling for each other, as have that of the Czar and those fa- 
vorites with whom he shares the spoils, and that of the Pre- 
sident, by whom and his sycophants, the United States is 
freshly subjugated and plundered every four years. 

But what do you mean by Art-Liberty ? Methinks I hear 
those ask who have not already hid their stupidity from them- 
selves, under that common cover of dullness, " Utopia." 

By Art-Liberty, my friends, I mean the practiced applica- 
tion of all science and art systemized, as fast as unfolded. The 
only law which can govern a free state, must be discovered ; 
it must be drawn from the whole of science and art ; not " en- 
acted ;" human law can no more be " enacted " than can 
physical law. 

Art-Liberty will be the crowning art of arts in develop- 
ing nature's resources, of discovering and modifying her laws 
and of combining her powers till " creation " shall be complete , 
till supply shall be adequate to demand ; till nature's grand 
end, which the aim of her highest consciousness instinctively 
indicates, is attained ; till nature's highest organism, man, 
attains to happiness not only perfect, but lasting enough 
to fully satisfy his five-sense nature without recourse to " be- 
yond the skies ;" till all physical obstacles to man's liberty to 
be happy are removed, even to the unfriendliness of climate 1 
Not, by such fanciful means as that great seer, Fourier, sup- 
posed, but wholly through the working, with nature, of sci- 
ence and art, which have conquered steam and electricity, 
and made so many other things which were inimical to man's 
happiness, the very means of promoting it ; and which will 
make the good of everything, through use, in exact propor- 
tion to its present evil, through abuse or neglect. 

Man's leaders, must find out how to satisfy man's highest 
aspirations, instead of catering for his prejudices ; instead of 
confirming him, by flattery and cajolery, in his false, superna- 
tnralistic notions - T instead of studying the trickery of repre- 
senting and plundering him. And they will rapidly find this 
out, as soon as a knowledge (already attaiDed) of the unity 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 97 

of science, spreads among them, and along with it, its correl- 
late, that all mankind are one organism, no individual of 
which can be indifferent to each and att of the others. Enlight- 
ened, far-seeing, aft-benefiting selfishness will then take the 
place of short-sighted, suicidal, penny wise pound foolish 
cunning ; and that barricade of hypocrisy, duty, that most 
fallible of all guides, conscience, and " virtue " and " vice," 
those most unscientific and mischievous expressions that have 
ever crept into the vocabulary of human folly, will be obso- 
lete. 

Let us draw a picture of the condition of things which 
the current schemes of politics, religion, moralism, " virtue," 
and " law " must very shortly produce, if they had unopposed 
sway if the requirements of both our civil and religioua 
guides were fully complied with : 

If all contracts in accordance with present "law" were 
fulfilled to the letter, and if all the " duties " enjoined by pre- 
sent moralism were unflinchingly performed, and if all which 
" virtue " styles " vice " was entirely abstained from, and if 
what is now " free trade" according to " law," had a " fair 
field," how long would it take a millionth of the earth's inha- 
bitants to accumulate att its wealth ? In my opinion, it 
would not take ten generations to produce that reign of 
" law," " principle," morality," " virtue," and " free, trade," 
or " mind-your-own business," and-every-one-for-himself-ism / 
on the earth. 

But there must be no stealing, swindling, or robbery, a& 
legally defined, on any account ; and there must be no sexual 
intercourse out of . the bonds of monogamy, even for 
bread ; and above all, there must be no acts, or even words of 
treason. The laboring man and the laboring woman, must 
patiently and slowly (nay, not very slowly I'm thinking) die 
on such wages as they who, in perfect security, hold all the 
wealth, chose to give ; and those out of work must brave 
martyrdom to "principle" by starving, straightway, unless 
they can obtain a " permit," to drag out a few months, pos- 
sibly years, in sack-cJoth and on water-gruel in an alms- 
house.* 
In all soberness, I ask, is not this a fair statement of the 

*I claim to have here made a very liberal concession ; for I have strong 
doubts as to whether old fogyism, if it had it all its own way, and had not 
the slightest fear of being disturbed, would furnish even alms-houses, sack- 
eloth, and water-gruel to anu of its victims ; to those who were too " shift 
lew ' to take care of themselves. 



98 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

case ? and, therefore, is not an entire change, religious, social, 
and moral, the only thing that can cure present religious, 
social, and moral disease ? And who are nearest to the 
" kingdom of heaven?''* who are least obstructive to the " mil 
lenium ?" they who are now considered moral, virtuous, and 
respectable, or they whom such term immoral, vicious, and the 
vilest of the vile ? 

The only thing that ever made me seriously consider whe- 
ther or not " Jesus " was a divine personage, was, the prefer- 
ence which he uniformly gave to " sinners," " publicans and 
harlots," even, over the " Scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites," 
who performed all which " the law " and moralism required. 
And I must confess that I am still astonished that any one 
should, almost two thousand years ago, so fully have under- 
stood what so very few, even now, have any conception of. 
Yet this, the strongest argument which can be adduced to 
prove " Christ's " divinity, the doctors of that divinity have 
never, to my knowledge, brought up. Need I add that the 
reason is very evident? Of course, were the doctors aforesaid 
to make a thorough use of this argument, they would upset the 
whole present political, legal, and moral scheme. Well, 
would it not be best to overthrow it by any means what- 
ever ? or, to put the question more justly, can present " in- 
stitutions " be too soon or too thoroughly superseded by those 
which Art-Liberty, but for them, would produce ? 

Opinionism and moralism, like " supernaturalism, (of 
which they are the refinement) have ages since, exhausted 
what little power for good they ever had, and became so ex- 
ceedingly morbific to the social organism, that they cannot 
be too speedily excreted. Reason and free discussion were 
once, in the fifth century, I believe, seriously engaged on the 
question as to whether angels could go from one point to 
another without passing through intermediate space ; and I 
myself, in the nineteenth century, have heard reason and free 
discussion on the question as to whether there was or was 
not a personal devil ; nay, that devil's tail was actually dis- 
cussed and reasoned upon. How much progress have reason 
and free discussion made since the fifth century ? Have they 
made any ? Are we not indebted for every bit of liberty we 
enjoy now, more than mankind did then, to science and art ? 
always excepting what little good reason and free discussion 
or subjectivism have done as very common and proportion- 
ably subordinate auxiliaries, during crisis-stages of revoli* 
tion. Then, these weapons, when wielded by such men a* 



APPLICATION. 99 

Thoiuas Paine, uwre of use : nay, would have been of use, had 
the social structure which they were the instruments of tear- 
vng down been replaced by one realiy wiu, instead of by one 
duilt of the damaged, ay, even rotten materials of the old one. 
Paine did all which he could be expected to do ; but his no- 
ble efforts were not seconded ; for they who wield his wea- 
pons now, resemble those soldiers who, instead of attacking 
fresh foes, continue to thrust their swords into the bodies of 
the slain. Was Thomas Paine here to-day, his old remedies, 
religious and political popular free discussion and reasoning 
would be thrown aside ; or only used to assist science and art 
to displace them in religious and state affairs. How other- 
wise could he be Thomas Paine ? He who was the very in- 
carnation of revolution ? True, he trusted that he should 
"never use any other weapons than those of reason ;"* but he 
had before trusted that British constitutionalism was the best 
possible thing for the State. Yet how widely and nobly did 
he afterwards change his course in that respect ; and would 
he not now see full as much cause as he did then-, for taking 
another tack ? Can any sensible person, who would honor his 
memory, say that he would not ? say that he would be satis- 
fied with the despotism which caucus-and-ballot-boxism has 
palmed off on us, or with any of the means hitherto used to 
get rid of it ? 

Man's right to be self-governed is, equally with his desire 
to be so, self-evident. But what is most insultingly termed 
" elective franchise," is the farthest thing possible from self- 
government. It is, except as a transient or crisis-stage expe- 
dient, of all fallacies the most monstrous. As a permanency, 
it has no type, and consequently no warrant throughout na- 
ture. In every instance where majorityism has become 
chronic, it has proved as bewildering and destructive to the 

* "The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Rea- 
son. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall ;" says Paine 
in his dedication of " The Age of Reason" to his " fellow-citizens of the United 
States of America." But he had dreadful experience of the rebound against 
himself, which the blows that he dealt with that weapon caused. And su- 
perstition is fully as rampant with the multitude now, as it was before the 
Age of Reason" was written ; and it is as rife now, as it then was, even 
with the higher classes ; with the exception that is clearly traceable to 
science and art. Every man of intelligence at all above the vulgar knows, 
that not only Ethan Allen, Jeflerson, and Franklin "were infidels" as the 
phrase is, but that Lafayette, and, in fact, nearly all the other revolutionary 
worthies, no more believed in the "divinity" of "The Bible," than Paine did. 



100 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

social organism, as the worst insanity proves to the individu- 
al. There is no record of society's being afflicted with the 
caucus-and-ballot-box mania for any considerable length of 
time, without having to be confined in the straight jacket of 
military despotism ; or prescribed a double dose of essentially 
the same kind of tyranny from which it had been so madly 
supposed that an escape had been made. What, then, I ask, 
in behalf of Thomas Paine, whose distinguishing characteris- 
tic, was to " go ahead," is the use of fooling any longer with 
the speculative, abstract, tantalizing shadows of human rights, 
which our corrupt, spoil-seeking demagogues impudently 
palm off on us for liberty ? And why persist longer in re- 
peating the miserable religious and moral failures into which 
our religious and moral quacks plunge us ? 

To what purpose have both religion and politics been so 
freely discussed, for nearly a century past, in the United 
States, by all who had more tongue than brain, and more van- 
ity than depth of research ? This is not saying that some wise 
and very worthy people have not also been led into the fal- 
lacy that abstract subjectivism was sufficient to remedy des- 
potism. I was once in that unfortunate predicament myself ,* 
and the axiom of Thomas Jefferson (I believe it was Jeffer- 
son's, at any rate it is the axiom of his loudest followers) was, 
that error may be safely trusted where reason is left free to 
combat it. But I ask in all soberness, has error been safely 
trusted in the United States, though reason is there as free 
to combat it as the majority will let it be ? And with what 
good effect, so far as social architecture is concerned, have 
carefully culled, and almost as carefully isolated facts been 
laid before the multitude, whose views are necessarily con- 
fined to the specialities which constitute their calling, since 
the acute stage of revolution in this country ? 

I tell you that facts, to be worth any thing, must be sys- 
temized ; and that, too, immeasurably more in social or state 
affairs than in any others ; and that this requires the wisest 
heads that can grow on human shoulders, aided by all science 
and art, and by the most laborious and uninterrupted prepa- 
ration. Social Science is the art of arts ; not the art of po- 
litical trickery. 

In spite of all the freedom of the tongue and of the press 
which the majority will allow to be exercised, or can allow 
to be exercised till social science and art take charge of edu- 
cation, is not our political system corrupt to the very core ? 
Are not they who have charge of the public treasury a very 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 101 

gang of thieves ? And are not they whom " elective fran- 
chise " places at the head of affairs, plunging the nation in- 
to bankruptcy every few years, and at shorter and shorter 
intervals, by their reckless wastefulness, in letting the life- 
blood of industry, as now carried on money pour abroad 
like water, for the sake of catching their dippers full of it ? 

And as to religion : has not the empire state, New York, 
in 1 860, enacted Sunday-laws which would have done credit 
to the Blue Code of Connecticut in 1650 ? Are not church- 
building, and church-going, and revivalism, ay, and Mormon- 
ism, rife among that very multitude that highest court from 
whose dread decrees there is no present appeal, to whom free 
discussion and facts have been presented to the extent they can 
be by present methods ? 

The popular free-discussion of affairs of the last degree 
of complication religious and state affairs except during 
the crisis period of revolution, only renders that worst of des- 
potisms, anarchy, chronic : it seats in the social organism, 
that political gangrene demagogism which has always 
Hitherto, sooner or later, required the cauterization of mili- 
tary despotism, (a remedy att but as bad as the disease) in or- 
der to be got rid of in order to save even civilization. Des- 
pofism is the most inveterate of all the diseases of the social 
organism which ignorance has inflicted ; nay, it is a complica- 
tion of aU its diseases. What, my fellow-man, would any of 
you think of the physician who should consult with an indi- 
vidual organism with a view to taking that organism's opin- 
ion as to what course he (the physician) had best pursue in 
order to cure him, (the organism) of scrofula, complicated 
with every other bodily disease to which flesh is heir ? 
Would not the patient, if he had one spark of common sense 
left, order such a doctor out of doors ? with " Sir, I expected 
aid from your science and your healing art ; and did not em- 
ploy you to mock and insult me in my wretchedness." 

Would any one who possessed a spark of reason, even, 
venture at sea in a vessel, with respect to the management of 
which, the vote of all who happened to go on board was 
going to be taken? And do the managers of the ship of 
.state require less preparation than do common sailors ? Do 
they not require so much more useful knowledge than they 
have ever been qualified with, that tney have always wrecked 
or capsized the ship of state, except where it is only a ques- 
tion of time when they will do so ? Evidently, church and 
vtate management require art and skill infinitely superior to 



102 CONCLUDING APPLICATION. 

what " supernaturalism " and its legitimate child, mot arehism. 
or its bastard issue, caucus-and-ballot-boxism, are capable of. 
From the dissecting room ; the chemical laboratory ; the as- 
tronomical observatory ; the physician's and physiologists 
study ; in fine, from all the schools of science and art, should 
human law be declared, instead of being " enacted " in legis- 
lative halls, by those who, in every respect besides political 
trickery, fraud, and " smartness," are perfect ignoramuses. 

Nature throughout, must be so modified (not changed) ; so 
liberated from the thraldom of antagonism or counteraction ; in 
short, so improved by art, that the conditions which now ne- 
cessitate despotism and evil will be superseded by those which 
will make liberty, and all that is desirable, as spontaneous as 
is the order of the spheres. 

Man naturally desires to be good. There is not, never was, 
and never can be, a sane human being who would not like to 
have things so arranged, that every human desire could be ful- 
ly gratified, instead of, as now, almost wholly denied gratifi- 
cation ; man's " holy " or '' heavenly " desires, the very 
quintessence of sensualness, are a constant, and will be an 
everlasting testimony to the truth of this. 

Priescraft cannot be put down, till man obtains his " be- 
ing's" end and aim," or is satisfied that it is attainable, in this 
material, this perceptible, this sense-world. To desire must 
be to possess, with the exception (if it can be called an excep- 
tion) of the intervention of just exertion enough to give to pos- 
session its due value. Mankind will, with few exceptions, 
scorn reason, so long as it arrays itself against human in- 
stinct ; against what man/eefe to be true. And until science 
and art give man (or assure him that they can give him) the 
perfect and sufficiently lasting happiness which he instinctive- 
ly knows that the power which created him owes him and 
stands pledged to give him or turn out to be an almighty fai- 
lure, he will pursue that happiness even, beyond the grave ; 
with priestcraft for his guide, of course. 

Can nature or all existence, fail ? and allow the drafts which, 
on the indisputable testimony of the human passions, she haa 
authorized her highest beings to draw on her, to be protest- 
ed ? Surely, " supernaturalism " itself is less absurd than this. 

Friends of human rights ! Believers in progress ! Is any 
thing more certain, than that combined science and its cor- 
responding art, or full and complete development, must prove 
adequate to all for which " miracle " can be intelligibly ift 
voked ? 



CONCLUDING APPLICATION 103 

Ignorance with respect to this, then; ignorance of how to de- 
velop nature's resources, and modify and harmoniously combine 
her powers, so as to liberate her tendency to perfection from 
all obstructions so as that her means will correspondent to 
her ends, constitutes the tyi-ant in search of whom we start- 
ed. There he stands ! But he is not invulnerable, nor is his 
fearfully, ay, att but "supernaturally" strong fortress impreg- 
nable. Let us "up and at him,"' then, as determinedly as our 
sires of glorious memory charged his minions at Bunker 
Hill. Parleying, as we have learned by long, sad experience, 
is sheer nonsense ; quarter being out of the question. This 
arch enemy of mankind must be annihilated before liberty 
can be an actuality. And the religious faith of the hu- 
man race must be transferred from the mysterious and impos- 
sible, and from their correlates, the subjective and speculative, 
to the intelligible and practical. And these must be shown 
capable of fulfilling man's highest aspirations, before he 
can truly understand the mission, and fully appreciate the 
^orth of THOMAS PAINE. 

I trust I have shown that, to conquer the tyrant which 
ignorance of how to be free constitutes, was the common aim, 
and the real, however glimmeringly perceived object, of the 
exertions of Rousseau, Paine, Cornte, and all the other au- 
thor-heroes and heroines, who have ever written. In con- 
clusion allow me to propose a crisis-question for the pratical 
consultation upon, of my friends, whose religion (If I may be 
allowed to accuse them of having any] reason and free dis- 
cussion compose : 

How can man be extricated from having to grovel round 
and round and round in the hopeless orbit which has mystery 
for its center, monarchy for his aphelion, demagogism for its 
perihelion, and unvarnished wretchedness or gilded misery 
for its whole course, except by scientifically, artistically, and 
unitedly creating the requisite conditions for Actual liberty? 

All have their hobby. Mine, it will be pretty clearly per- 
ceived is, that nature, through development, will prove aUr 
sufficient. 

Come, all ye who delight in the amble of that well-tried 
hack, popular religious, political, and sociological discussion, 
and who do not like the complexion of present religious, po- 
litical, and social institutions, and who are not enamoured 
of the millennium which I have shown would constitute their 
ultimatum : If you object to Art-Liberty, please to let the 
world know definitely, what you do propone. 



APPENDIX. 



As ono of '.bo most heroic acts of Thomas Paine's life,, 
and one which alno showed the profoundness of his political 
wisdom, was his speech in opposition to the execution of 
Louis XVI., I wish to draw particular attention to it ; and 
therefore give it a place in an Appendix ; for I have observed 
that even the most cursory readers generally look at the end 
of a work. 

This speech, Mr. Paine well understood, would expose him 
to the fiercest wrath of the Jacobins, who, sustained by the 
triumphant rabble, had resolved, in the king's case, to dis - 
pense with even the forms of "justice," to the extent of set- 
ting aside the rule which required the sanction of a two- 
thirds majority for the infliction of the death penalty. " We 
vote," protested Lanjuinai's. when the balloting was ordered 
to commence, " under the daggers and the cannon of the fac- 
tions." 

In order to more fully understand in what fearful peril 
Mr. Paine voluntarily placed himself by delivering this 
speech, it will be necessary to know that " the factions " to 
which deputy Lanjuinais referred, were composed of the 
cruel monsters (and their abettors) who, a short time before^ 
had " laboured" as their horrible, but " disinterested " leader,. 
Maillard, termed it, during thirty-six hours, at massacreeing 
the unarmed prisoners, who had been committed on mere sus- 
picion of not being friendly to the powers that then held 
sway ; and for which " labour," its zealous and industrious 
performers, all covered with blood and brains, demanded in, 
stant payment of the committee of the municipality, threaten- 
ing them with instant death if thay did not comply. 



APPENDIX. 105 

" Do you think I have earned only twenty-four franca ?'' 
said one of these 'principled assassins, blandishing a massive 
weapon, " why, I have slain forty with my own hands." 



SPEECH OF THOMAS PAINE, AS DEPUTY IN THB 
NATIONAL CONVENTION OF FRANCE, IN OPPO- 
SITION TO THE EXECUTION OF THE KING. 

CITIZEN PRESIDENT : 

My hatred and abhorrence of absolute monarchy are suffi- 
ciently known ; they originated in principles of reason and 
conviction, nor, except with life, can they ever be extirpated ; 
but my compassion for the unfortunate, whether friend or 
enemy, is equally lively and sincere. 

I voted that Louis should be tried, because it was neces- 
sary to afford proofs to the world of the perfidy, corruption, 
and abomination of the French government. 

The infinity of evidence that has been produced exposes 
them in the most glaring and hideous colours. 

Nevertheless I am inclined to believe that if Louis Capet 
had been born in an obscure condition, had he lived within 
the circle of an amiable and respectable neighbourhood, at 
liberty to practice the duties of domestic life, had he been 
thus situated I cannot believe that he would have shewn him- 
self destitute of social virtues ; we are, in a moment of fer- 
mentation like this, naturally little indulgent to his vices, or 
rather to those of his government ; we regard them with ad- 
ditional horror and indignation ; not that they are more hei- 
nous than those of his predecessors, but because our eyes are 
now open, and the veil of delusion at length withdrawn ; yet 
the lamentably degraded state to which he is actually re- 
duced is surely far less imputable to him than to the constitu- 
ent assembly which, of its own authority, without consent or 
advice of the people, restored him to the throne. 

I was present at the time of the flight or abdication cf 
Louis XVI., and when he was taken and brought back. The 
proposal of restoring to him the supreme power struck me 
with amazement ; and although at that time I was not a citi- 
zen, yet as a citizen of the world, I employed all the effortg 
that depended on me to prevent it. 

A small society, composed only of five persons, two 01 
whom are now members of the convention, took at that time 



106 APPENDIX. 

the name of the Republican Club (Socie*te* Republicaine). 
This society opposed the restoration of Louis, not so much on 
account of his personal offences, as in order to overthrow 
monarchy, and to erect on its ruins the republican system 
and an equal representation. 

With this design I traced eut in the English language 
certain propositions which were translated, with some trifling 
alteration, and signed by Achilles Duchelclet, lieutenant- 
general in the army of the French republic, and at that time 
one of the five members which composed our little party ; 
the law requiring the signature of a citizen at the bottom of 
each printed paper. 

The paper was indignantly torn by Malouet, and brought 
forth in this very room as an article of accusation against the 
person who had signed it, the author, and their adherents j 
but such is the revolution of events that this paper is now 
revived, and brought forth for a very opposite purpose. 

To remind the nation of the error of that unfortunate 
day, that fatal error of not having then banished Louis XVI 
from its bosom, the paper in question was conceived in the 
following terms ; and I bring it forward this day to plead in 
favor of his exile preferably to his death. 

" Brethren, and fellow Citizens : The serene tranquillity, 
the mutual confidence which prevailed amongst us during 
the time of the late king's escape, the indifference with which 
we beheld him return, are unequivocal proofs that the ab- 
sence of the king is more desirable than his presence, and 
that he is not only a political superfluity but a grievous bur- 
then pressing hard on the whole nation. 

" Let us not be imposed on by sophisms : all that con- 
cerns this man is reduced to four points. He has abdicated 
the throne in having fled from his post. Abdication and de- 
sertion are not characterized by length of absence, but by the 
single act of flight. In the present instance the act is every 
thing, and the time nothing. 

" The nation can never give back its confidence to a man 
who, false to his trust, perjured to his oath, conspires a clan- 
destine flight, obtains a fraudulent passport, conceals a king 
of France under the disguise of a valet, directs his course to- 
wards a frontier covered with traitors and deserters, and evi- 
dently meditates a return into our country with a force capa- 
ble of imposing his own despotic laws. Ought his flight to 
be considered as his own act, or the act of those who fled 
with him? Was it a spontaneous resolution of his ow* 1 , or 



APPENDFX. 107 

was it inspired into him by others ? The alternative is im- 
material : whether fool or hypocrite, idiot or traitor, he has 
proved himself equally unworthy of the vast and important 
functions that had been delegated to him. 

"In every sense that the question can be considered, the 
reciprocal obligations which subsisted between us are dis- 
solved. He holds no longer authority ; we owe him no longer 
obedience ; we see in him no more than an indifferent per- 
son ; we can regard him only as Louis Capet. 

" The history of France presents little else than a long 
scries of public calamity which takes its source from the 
vices oC her kings : we have been the wretched victims that 
have never ceased to suffer either for them or by them. The 
catalogue of their oppressions was complete, but to complete 
the sum of their crimes, treason was yet wanting ; now the 
only vacancy is filled up, the dreadful list is full ; the system 
is exhausted ; there are no remaining errors for them to com- 
mit, their reign is concequently at an end. 

" As to the personal safety of Mr. Louis Capet, it is so 
much the more confirmed, as France will not stop to degrade 
herself by a spirit of revenge against a wretch who has dis- 
honored himself. In defending a just and glorious cause it 
is not possible to degrade it ; and the universal tranquillity 
which prevails is an undeniable proof that a free people know 
how to respect themselves." 

Having thus explained the principles and exertions of 
the republicans at that fatal period when Louis was reinsta- 
ted in full possession of the executive power which by his 
flight had been suspended, I return to the subject, and to the 
deplorable condition in which the man is now actually in- 
volved. "What was neglected at the time of which I have 
been speaking has been since brought about by the force of 
necessity. 

The wilful treacherous defects in the former constitution 
had been brought to light, the continual alarm of treason 
and conspiracy roused the nation and produced eventfully a 
second revolution. The people have beat down royalty, never, 
never to rise again ; they have brought Louis Capet to the 
bar, and demonstrated in the face of the whole world, the 
intrigues, the cabals, the falsehood, corruption, and rooted 
depravity of his government : there remains then only one 
question to be considered, what is to be done with this man ? 
For myself, I freely confess that when I reflect on the un- 
accountable folly that restored the executive power to hia 



108 APPENDIX. 

hands, all covered as he was with perjuries and treason, I JJD 
far more ready to condemn the constituent assembly than the 
unfortunate prisoner Louis Capet. 

But, abstracted from every other consideration, there is 
one circumstance in his life which ought to cover or at least 
to palliate a great number of his transgressions, and this 
very circumstance affords the French nation a blessed occa- 
sion of extricating itself from the yoke of its kings without 
defiling itself in the impurities of their blood. 

It is to France alone, I know, that the United States oi 
America owe that support which enabled them to shake off 
an unjust and tyrannical yoke. The ardour and zeal which 
she displayed to provide both men and money were the na- 
tural consequences of a thirst for liberty. But as the nation 
at that time, restrained by the shackles of her own govern- 
ment, could only act by means of a monarchical organ, this 
organ, whatever in other respects the object might be, cer- 
tainly performed a good, a great action. 

Let then these United States be the safeguard end asylum 
of Louis Capet. There, hereafter, far removed from the mi- 
series and crimes of royalty, he may learn, from the contant 
aspect of public prosperity, that the true system of govern- 
ment consists in fair, equal, and honorable representation 
In relating this circumstance, and in submitting this propo- 
sition, I consider myself as a citizen of both countries. 

I submit it as a citizen of America who feels the debt of 
gratitude which he owes to every Frenchman. I submit it 
also as a man who cannot forget that kings are subject to 
human frailties. I support my proposition as a citizen of the 
French republic, because it appears to me the best, the most 
politic measure that can be adopted. 

As far as my experience in public life extends, I hare 
ever observed that the great mass of the people are invari- 
ably just, both in their intentions and in their objects ; but 
the true method of accomplishing that effect, does not always 
show itself in the first instance. For example, the English 
nation had groaned under the despotism of the Stuarts. 
Hence Charles the 1st lost his life ; yet Charles the lid was 
restored to all the full plenitude of power which his father 
had lost. Forty years had not expired when the same family 
strove to re-establish their ancient oppression ; so the nation 
then banished from its territories the whole race. The re- 
medy was effectual : the Stuart family sunk into obscurity, 
confounded itself with the multitude, and is at length extinct 



APPENDIX. 109 

The French nation has carried her measures of govern- 
dent to a greater length. France is not satisfied with ex- 
posing the guilt of the monarch, she has penetrated into the 
vices and horrors of the monarchy. She has shown them 
clear as day-light, and for ever crushed that system ; and h, 
vhoever he may be, that should ever dare to reclaim those 
rights, would be regarded not as a pretender, but punished 
as a traitor. 

Two brothers of Louis Capet have banished themselves 
from the country, but they are obliged to comply with the 
spirit and etiquette of the courts where they reside. 

They can advance no pretensions on their own account, 
so long as Louis shall live. 

The history of monarchy in Frauce was a system preg- 
nant with crimes and murders, cancelling all natural ties, 
even those by which brothers are united. We know how 
often they have assassinated each other to pave a way to 
power. As those hopes which the emigrants had reposed in 
Louis XVI are fled, the last that remains rests upon his 
death, and their situation inclines them to desire this cata- 
strophe, that they may once again rally round a more active 
chief, .and try one further effort under the fortune of the ci- 
devant Monsieur and d'Artois. That such an enterprise would 
precipitate them into a new abyss of calamity and disgrace, 
it is not difficult to foresee ; yet it might be attended with 
mutual loss, and it is our duty, as legislators, not to spill a 
drop of blood when our purpose may be effectually accom- 
plished without it. It has been already proposed to abolish 
the punishment of death, and it is with infinite satisfaction 
that I recollect the humane and excellent oration pronounced 
by Robespierre on that subject in the constituent assembly * 
This cause must find its advocates in every corner where er- 

* Pause, reader, and weep over the blindness of those reformers who 
depend on principle and good intention. Robespierre preached (oh, tne 
"foolishness of (popular) preaching"* where social science is in question) against 
the death-penalty ! And thers can be no reasonable doubt but that he was, 
in principle, opposed to it. 

Marat once confidently exclaimed, in reference to his known inoorrnpt- 
ness : "A patriot so pure aa myself, might communicate with the Devil." 
The appropriateness of his association of personages and attributes, he pro- 
bably did not suspect. 

When, oh when, will principle and moralism, and that main supporter 
of "vice," "virtue," give place to practical goodness ? 

"Fly swifter round, ye wheels of time, 
And bring the welcome day.'* 



110 APPENDIX. 

lightened politicians and lovers of humanity exist, and it 
ought above all to find them in this assembly. 

Bod governments have trained the human race, and inured 
it to the sanguinary arts and refinements of punishment ; and 
it is exactly the same punishment that has so long shocked the 
sight and tormented the patience of the people which now in 
their turn they practise in revenge on their oppressors. 

But it becomes us to be strictly on our guard against the 
abomination and perversity of such examples. As Prance 
has been the first of European nations to amend her govern- 
ment, let her also be the first to abolish the punishment of 
death, and to find out a milder and more effectual substitute. 

In the particular case now under consideration, I submit 
the following propositions. 1st. That the national conven- 
tion shall pronounce the sentence of banishment on Louia 
and his familly : 2nd. That Louis Capet shall be detained in 
prison till the end of the war, and then the sentence of ban- 
ishment to be executed. 

Brat 



COMMON SENSE: 

ADDRESSED TO THE INHABITANTS OP AMERICA, ON THE FOLLOWING 
INTERESTING SUBJECTS, VIZ.: 



1 Or THE ORIGIN ASD DESIGN OF GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL, WITH COKCISB 

THE ESGLISH CONSTITUTION. 

IL Or MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION. 
UI. THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF AMERICAN AFFAIR*. 
TV OF THE PRESENT ABILITY OF AMERICA, WITH SOME MISCELLANEOUS 

TO WH'CH IS ADDED AN APPENDIX. 



Mac knows no matter save crtaung heaven, 
O~ tbos* whom cboiea and common good ordain. 

THOMBOT. 



PUBLISHER'S INTRODUCTION. 



"HA y you seen the pamphlet, l Common Sense?" asked 
Major General Lee, in a letter to Washington ; " I never 
eaw such a masterly, irresistible performance. It will, if I 
mistake not, in concurrence with the transcendent folly atd 
wickedness of the ministry, give the coup-de-grace to Greal 
Britain. In short, I own myself convinced by the argu 
ments, of the necessity of separation." 

General Washington, in a letter to Joseph Reed, Jan. 33 
1776, says: "A few more such naming arguments as wer. 
exhibited at Falmouth and Norfolk, added to the sound doc- 
trine and unanswerable reasoning contained in the pamphlet 
* Common Sense? will not leave numbers at a loss to decide 
on the propriety of a separation." 

''That book" (Common Sense), says Dr. Rush, "burst 
forth from the press with an effect that has been rarely pro 
duced by types and paper, in any age or country." 



INTRODUCTION. 



PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, 
*re not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general 
favor ; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it 
a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a 
formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult 
soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason. 

As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the 
means of calling the right of it in question, (and in matters 
too which might never have been thought of, had not the 
sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry,) and as the king 
of England hath undertaken in his own right, to support the 
parliament in what he calls theirs, and as the good people 
of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, 
they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the preten- 
sions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of 
either. 

In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided 
every thing which is personal among ourselves. Compli- 
ments as well as censure to individuals make no part 
thereof. The wise and the worthy need not the triumph of 
ft pamphlet ; and those whose sentiments are injudicious or 



Tl INTEODUOTION. 

unfriendly, will cease of themselves, unless too much pains 
is bestowed upon their conversion. 

The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of 
all mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, 
which are not local, but universal, and through which the 
principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the 
event of which, their affections are interested. The laying 
a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war 
against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating 
the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the con- 
cern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of 
feeling ; of which class, regardless of party censure, is 

THE AUTHOK. 
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 14, 1776. 



COMMON SENSE. 



ON THE 

ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL, 
WITH CONCISE REMARKS ON THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION. 

SOME writers have so confounded society with government, 
as to leave little or no distinction between them ; whereas 
they are not only different, but have different origins. Society 
is produced by our wants, and government by our wickea- 
ness ; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting 
our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. 
The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinc- 
tions. The first is a patron, the last is a punisher. 

Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even 
in its best state, is but a necessary evil ; in its worst state an 
intolerable one ; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the 
same miseries 5y a government, which we might expect in a 
country without government, our calamity is neightened by 
reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. 
Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence ; the 
palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of 
paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uni- 
form and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other law- 
giver ; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to 
surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the 
protection of the rest ; and this he is induced to do by the 
same prudence which in every other case advises him out of 
two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the 
true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows 
that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it 
to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is prefera 

ble to all others. 

r 



8 COMMON SENSE. 

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and 
end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons 
settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected 
with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling 
of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural 
liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand 
motives will excite them thereto ; the strength of one man 
is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for per- 
petual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance 
and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. 
Four or five united, would be able to raise a tolerable dwel- 
ling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labor 
out the common period of life without accomplishing any 
thing ; when he had felled his timber he could not remove 
it, nor erect it after it was removed ; hunger in the mean- 
time would urge him from his work, and every different 
want would call him a different way. Disease, nay even 
misfortune, would be death, for though neither might be 
mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce 
him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish 
than to die. 

Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form 
our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal 
blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obliga- 
tions of law and government unnecessary while they 
remained perfectly just to each other ; but as nothing but 
heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, 
that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of 
emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, 
they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to 
each other ; and this remissness will point out the necessity 
of establishing some form of government to supply the 
defect of moral virtue. 

Some convenient tree will afford them a state-house, under 
the branches of which the whole colony may assemble to 
deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that 
their first laws will have the title only of Regulations, and 
be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In 
this first parliament every man by natural right will have 
a seat. 

But as the colony increases, the public concerns will in- 
crease likewise, and the distance at which the members may 
be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to 
meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was 



COMMON SENSE. 



small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few 
and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their 
consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a 
select number chosen from the whole body, who are sup- 
posed to have the same concerns at stake which those have 
who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner 
as the whole body would were they present. If the colony 
continue increasing, it will become necessary to augment the 
number of representatives, and that the interest of every 
part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best 
to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending 
its proper number ; and that the elected might never form 
to themselves an interest separate from the electors, prudence 
will point out the propriety of having elections often: 
because as the elected might by that means return and mix 
again with the general body of the electors, in a few months, 
their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent 
reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this 
frequent interchange will establish a common interest with 
every part of the community, they will mutually and natu- 
rally support each other, and on tnis, (not on the unmeaning 
name of King,) depends the strength of government a/nd the 
happiness of the governed. 

Here, then, is the origin and rise of government ; namely, 
a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue 
to govern the world ; here too is the design and end of gov- 
erment, viz. freedom and security. And however our eyes 
may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound ; 
however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken 
our understanding, the simple voice of nature and reason will 
say, it is right. 

I draw my idea of the form of government from a princi- 
ple in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more 
simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered : 
and the easier repaired when disordered; and with this 
maxim in view, I offer a few remarks on the so much 
boasted constitution of England. That it was noble for the 
dark and slavish times in which it was erected, is granted. 
When the world was overrun with tyranny the least remove 
therefrom was a glorious rescue. But that it is imperfect, 
subject to convulsions, and incapable of producing what it 
seems to promise is easily demonstrated. 

Absolute governments, (though the disgrace of human 
nature,) have this advantage with them that they are aim- 



10 COMMON SENSE. 

le ; if the people suffer, they know the head from which 
' eir suffering springs, know likewise the reiaedy, and are 
not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures. But the 
constitution of England is so exceedingly complex, that the 
nation may suffer for years together without being able to 
discover in which part the fault lies, some will say in one 
and some in another, and every political physician will ad- 
vise a different medicine. 

I know it is difficult to get over local or long standing 
prejudices, yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the 
component parts of the English constitution, we shall find 
them to be the base remains of two ancient tyrannies, com- 
pounded with some new republican materials. 

First. The remains of monarchical tyranny in the person 
of the king. 

Secondly. The remains of aristocratical tyranny in the 
persons of thepeers. 

Thirdly. The new republican materials, in the persons 
of the commons, on whose virtue depends the freedom of 
England. 

The two first, by being hereditary, are independent of the 
people ; wherefore in a constitutional sense they contribute 
nothing towards the freedom of the state. 

To say that the constitution of England is a union of 
three powers, reciprocally checking each other, is farcical ; 
either the words have no meaning, or they are flat contra- 
dictions. 

To say that the commons is a check upon the king, pre- 
supposes two things. 

First. That the king is not to be trusted without being 
looked after, or in other words, that a thirst for absolute 
power, is the natural disease of monarchy. 

Secondly. That the commons, by being appointed for that 
purpose, are either wiser or more worthy of confidence than 
the crown. 

But as the same constitution which gives the commons a 
power to check the king by withholding the supplies, gives 
afterwards the king a power to check the commons, by em- 
powering him to reject their other bills ; it again supposes 
that the king is wiser than those whom it has already sup- 
posed to be wiser than him. A mere absurdity 1 

There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composi- 
tion of monarchy ; it first excludes a man from the meane 
of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the 



COMMON SENSE. 11 

highest judgment is required. The state of a king shuta 
him from the world, yet the business of a king requires hirn 
to know it thoroughly ; wherefore the different parts, by un- 
naturally opposing and destroying each other, prove the 
whole character to be absurd and useless. 

Some writers have explained the English constitution 
thuo : the king, say they, is one, the people another ; the 
peers are a house in behalf of the king ; the commons in be- 
half of the people ; but this hath afl the distinctions of a 
house divided against itself; and though the expressions be 
pleasantlv arranged, jet when examined they appear idle 
and ambiguous ; and it will always happen, that the nicest 
construction that words are capable of, when applied to the 
description of something which either cannot exist, or is too 
Incomprehensible to be within the compass of description, 
will be words of sound only, and though they may amuse 
the ear, they cannot inform the mind, lor this explanation 
includes a previous question, viz. How came the king by a 
power which the people are afraid to trust, and always 
obliged to check f Such a power could not be the gift of a 
wise people, neither can any power, which needs checking, be 
from Goa ; yet the provision which the constitution makes, 
supposes such a power to exist. 

But the provision is unequal to the task ; the means either 
cannot or will not accomplish the end; and the whole affair 
is a felo de sej for as the greater weight will always carry 
up trie less, and as all the wheels of a machine are put in 
motion by one, it only remains to know which power in 
the constitution has the most weight, for that will govern ; 
and though the others, or a part of them may clog, or, as the 
phrase is, check the rapidity of its motion, vet so long as 
they cannot stop it, their endeavours will be ineffectual ; the 
first moving power will at last have its way, and what it 
wants in speed is supplied by time. 

That the crown is this overbearing part in the English 
constitution needs not be mentioned, and that it derives its 
whole consequence merely from being the giver of places 
and pensions is self-evident, wherefore, though we have been 
wise enough to shut and lock a door against absolute mon- 
archy, we at the same time have been foolish enough to put 
the crown in possession of the key. 

The prejudice of Englishmen, in favour of their own go- 
vernment, by kings lords and commons, arises AS much or 
more from national pride than reason. Individuals are in- 



12 COMMON SENSE. 

doubtedly safer in England than in some other countries, 
but the will of the king is as much the law of the land in 
Britain as in France, with this difference, that instead of 
proceeding directly from his mouth, it is handed to the peo- 
ple under the formidable shape of an act of parliament. 
For the fate of Charles the First hath only made kings more 
subtle not more just. 

Wherefore, laying aside all national pride and prejudice 
in favour of modes and forms, the plain truth is that it is 
wholly owing to the constitution of the people, and not tfte 
constitution of the government that the crown is not as op- 
pressive in England as in Turkey^. 

An inquiry into the constitutional errors in the English 
form of government is at this time highly necessary ; for as 
we are never in a proper condition of doing justice to others, 
while we continue under the influence of some leading par- 
tiality, so neither are we capable of doing it to ourselves 
while we remain fettered by any obstinate prejudice. And 
as a man, who is attached to a prostitute, is unfitted to 
choose or judge of a wife, so any prepossession in favour of 
a rotten constitution of government will disable us from 
cerning a good one. 



OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION. 

MAITKIND being originally equals in the order of creation,, 
the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent 
circumstance ; the distinctions of rich and poor, may in a 
great measure be accounted for, and that without naving 
recourse to the harsh ill-sounding names of avarice and op- 
pression. Oppression is often the consequence, but seldom 
or never the means of riches ; and though avarice will pre- 
serve a man from being necessitously poor, it generally 
makes him too timorous to be wealthyl 

But there is another and greater distinction for which no 
truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that 
is the distinction of men into kings and subjects. Male and 
female are the dictinctions of nature, good and bad, the dis- 
tinctions of heaven ; but how a race of men came into the 
world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like 



COMMON SENSE. 13 

ome new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether 
they are the means of happiness or of misery to man- 
kind. 

In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture 
chronology, there were no kings ; the consequence of which 
was there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which 
throws mankind into confusion. Holland, without a king, 
hath enjoyed more peace for the last century than any of 
the monarchical governments of Europe. Antiquity favors 
the same remark ; for the quiet and rural lives of the first 
patriarchs have a happy something in them, which vanishes 
when we come to the history of Jewish royalty. 

Government by kings was first introduced into the world 
by Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the 
custom. It was the most prosperous invention that was ever 
set on foot for the promotion of Idolatry. The heathen paid 
divine honours to their deceased kings, and the Christian 
world hath improved on the plan by doing the same to 
their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty 
applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is 
crumbling into dust 1 

As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest, cannot 
be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neitheiLcan it be 
defended on the authority of Scripture : for the viH. of the 
Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, 
expressly disapproves of government by longs. All anti- 
monarchical parts of Scripture, have been very smoothly 
glossed over in monarchical governments, but they undoubt- 
edly merit the attention of countries, which have their gov- 
ernments yet to form. Render iwito Cesar the things which 
are Cesar's, is the scripture doctrine of courts, yet it is no 
support of monarchical government, for the Jews at that 
time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage to the 
Romans. 

Near three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic 
account of the creation, until the Jews, under a national de- 
lusion, requested a king. Till then their form of government 
(except in extraordinary cases, where the Almighty inter- 
poseo) was a kind of republic, administered by a judge and 
the eiders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was 
held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but 
the Lord of Hosts. Ana when a man seriously reflects on 
the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of kings, 
he need not wonder that the Almighty, ever jealous of hif 



COMMON SENSE. 



honour, should disapprove a form of government which so 
impiously invades the prerogative of heaven. 

Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the 
Jews, for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them. 
The history of that transaction is worth attending to. 

The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites, 
Gideon marched against them with a small army, and vic- 
tory, through the divine interposition, decided in his favor. 
The Jews, elate with success, and attributing it to the gen- 
eralship of Gideon, proposed making him a king, saying, 
Rule thou over us, thou and thy son, and thy son's son. Here 
was temptation in its fullest extent ; not a kingdom only, 
but an hereditary one ; but Gideon in the piety of his soul 
replied, / will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule 
over you, THE LOKD SHALL KULE OYEE YOU. 
Words need not be more explicit ; Gideon doth not decline the 
honour, but denieth their right to give it ; neither doth he 
compliment them with invented declarations of his thanks, but 
in the positive style of a Prophet charges them with disaffec- 
tion to their proper Sovereign, the King of heaven. 

About one hundred years after this, they fell again into 
the same error. The hankering which the Jews had for the 
idolatrous customs of the Heathens,'is something exceedingly 
unaccountable ; but so it was, that laying hold of the mis- 
conduct off Samuel's two sons, who were intrusted with some 
secular concerns, they came in an abrupt and clamorous 
manner to Samuel, saying, Behold thou art old, and thy sons 
walk not in thy ways, now make us a king to judge us like 
all the other nations. And here we cannot but observe that 
their motives were bad, viz. that they might be like unto 
other nations, i. e. the Heathen, whereas their true glory lay 
in being as much unlike them as possible. But the thing 
displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to judge 
us ; and Samuel prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord said 
unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that 
they say unto thee,for they have not rejected thee, but they 
have rejected me, THAT I SHOULD NOT EEIGIST OVER 
THEM. According to all the works which they have done 
since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even unto 
this day ; wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other 
Gods ; so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken 
unto their voice, howbeit, protest solemnly: unto them and show 
them the manner of the king that shall reign over them, i. e. not 
of any particular king, but the general manner of the kings oi 



COMMON SENSE. 15 

the earth, whom Israel was so eagerly copying after. And not- 
withstanding the great distance of time and difference of 
manners, the character is still in fashion. And Samuel told 
aU the words of the Lord unto ike people, that asked of him 
a king. And he said, This shall be the manner of the king 
that shall reign over you he will take your sons and appoint 
them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, 
and some shall run before his chariots (this description agrees 
with the present mode of impressing men) and he will ap- 
point him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties, 
and will set them to ear his ground and to reap his harvest, 
and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his 
chariots ; and he will take your daughters to be confection- 
aries, and to be cooks and to be bakers (this describes the 
expense and luxury as well as the oppression of kings) and 
he will take your fields and your olive yards, even the best of 
them, and give them to his servants ; and he will take the 
tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give them to 
his officers and to his servants (by which we see that bribery, 
corruption, and favoritism, are the standing vices of kings) 
and he will take the tenth of your men servants, and your 
maid servants, and your goodliest young men, and your 
asses, and put them to his work : and he will take the tenth 
of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants, and ye shall cry 
c-ut in that day because of your king which ye shall have 
Chosen. AND THE LOED WILL NOT HEAK YOU 
IN" THAT DAY. This accounts for the continuation of 
monarchy ; neither do the characters of the few good kings 
which have lived since, either sanctify the title, or blot out 
the sinfulness of the origin : the high encomium given of 
David takes no notice of him officially as a king, but only as 
a man after God's own heart. Nevertheless the people refused 
to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, Nay, out we will 
have a king over us, that we may be like all the nations, and 
that our king may judge us, and go out before us and fight 
our battles. Samuel continued to reason with them, but to 
no purpose ; he set before them their ingratitude, but all 
would not avail ; and seeing them fully bent on their folly, 
he cried out, I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send 
thunder and rain (which was then a punishment, being in 
the time of wheat harvest) that ye may perceive and see that 
your wickedness is great which ye have done in the sight of 
the Lord, IN ASKING YOU A KING. So Samuel called 
unto the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, 



16 COMMON SENSE. 

and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And 
all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto 
the Lord thy God that we die not, for WE HA YE 
ADDED UNTO OUR SINS THIS EVIL, TO ASK A 
KINGr. These portions of scripture are direct and positive. 
They admit of no equivocal construction. That the Almighty 
hath here entered his protest against monarchical govern 
ment is true, or the scripture is false. And a man hath good 
reason to believe that there is as much of kingcraft, as priest- 
craft in withholding the scripture from the public in r opish 
countries. For monarchy in every instance is the Popery of 
government. 

To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary 
succession ; and as the first is a degradation and lessening 
of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is 
an insult and imposition on posterity. For all men being 
originally equals, no one by bvrth, could have a right to set 
up his own family, in perpetual preference to all others for 
ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree 
of honours of his cotemporaries, yet his descendants might 
be far too unworthy to inherit them. One of the strongest 
natwral proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, 
is that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so 
frequently turn it into ridicule, by giving mankind an Ass 
for a Lion. 

Secondly, as no man at first could possess more public 
honours than were bestowed upon him, so the givers of those 
honours could have no power to give away the right of pos- 
terity, and though they might say " We choose you for our 
head," they could not, without manifest injustice to their 
children, say "that your children and your children's chil- 
dren shall reign over ours for ever." Because such an un- 
wise, unjust, unnatural compact might, (perhaps) in the next 
succession put them under the government of rogue, or a 
fool. Most wise men in their private sentiments, nave ever 
treated hereditary right with contempt ; yet it is one of those 
evils, which when once established is not easily removed ; 
many submit from fear, others from superstition, and the 
more powerful part shares, with the king, the plunder of 
the rest. 

This is supposing the present race of kings in the world 
to have had an honourable origin ; whereas it is more than 
probable, that could we take off the dark covering of anti- 
quity, and trace them to their first rise, we should find the 



COMMON SENSE. IT 

first of them nothing better than the principal ruffian of 
some restless gang, whose savage manners, or pre-eminence 
in subtilty obtained him the title of chief among plunder- 
ers ; and who by increasing in power, and extending his 
depredations, overawed the quiet and defenceless to pur- 
chase their safety by frequent contributions. Yet his elec- 
tors could have no idea of giving hereditary right to his 
descendants, because such a perpetual exclusion of them- 
selves was incompatible with the free and unrestained prin- 
ciples they professed to live by. Wherefore, hereditary 
succession in the early ages of monarchy could not take 
place as a matter of claim, but as something casual or com- 

Slimental ; but as few or no records were extant in those 
ays, and traditionary history stuffed with fables, it was very 
easy, after the lapse of a few generations, to trump up some 
superstitious tale, conveniently timed Mahomet like, to cram 
hereditary rights down the throats of the vulgar. Perhaps 
the disorders which threatened, or seemed to threaten, on 
the decease of a leader and the choice of a new one (for 
elections among ruffians could not be very orderly) induced 
many at first to favor hereditary pretensions; by which 
means it happened, as it hath happened since, that what at 
first was submitted to as a convenience, was afterwards 
claimed as a right. 

England, since the conquest, hath known some few good 
monarchs, but groaned beneath a much larger number of 
bad ones ; vet no man in his senses can say that their claim 
under William the Conqueror is a very honorable one. A 
French bastard landing with an armea banditti, and estab- 
lishing himself king of England against the consent of the 
natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original. It 
certainly hath no divinity in it. However, it is needless to 
spend much time in exposing the folly of hereditary right, 
if there are any so weak as to believe it, let them promiscu- 
ously worship the ass and the lion, and welcome. I shall 
neither copy their humility, nor disturb their devotion. 

Yet I should be glad to ask how they suppose kings came 
at first? The question admits but of three answers, viz. 
either by lot, by election, or by usurpation. If the first king 
was taken by lot, it establishes a precedent for the next, 
which excludes hereditary succession. Saul was by lot, yet 
the succession was not nereditary, neither does it appear 
from that transaction that there was any intention it ever 
hould be. If the first king of any country was by election. 



18 COMMON SENSE. 

that likewise establishes a precedent for the next ; for to Bay, 
that the right of all future generations is taken away, by 
the act of the first electors, in their choice not only of a 
king, but of a family of kings forever, hath no parallel in 
or out of scripture but the doctrine of original sin, which 
supposes the free will of all men lost in Adam ; and from 
such comparison, and it will admit of no other, hereditary 
succession can derive no glory. For as in Adam all sinned, 
and as in the first electors all men obeyed ; as in the one all 
mankind were subjected to Satan, and in the other to sove- 
reignty ; as our innocence was lost in the first, and our 
autnority in the last ; and as both disable us from re-assum- 
ing some former state and privilege, it unanswerably follows 
that original sin and hereditary succession are parallels. Dis- 
honorable rank! Inglorious connection! Yet the most 
subtile sophist cannot produce a juster simile. 

As to usurpation, no man will be so hardy as to defend 
it ; and that William the Conqueror was an usurper is a fact 
not to be contradicted. The plain truth is, that the anti- 
quity of English monarchy will not bear looking into. 

But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of heredi- 
tary succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a 
race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine 
authority, but as it opens a door to thefooHsft, the wicked, 
and the improper, it hath in it the nature of oppression. 
Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to 
obey, soon grow insolent ; selected from the rest of mankind 
their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the 
world they act in differs so materially from the world at 
large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its 
true interests, and when they succeed to the government are 
frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout 
the dominions. 

Another evil which attends hereditary succession is, that 
the throne is subject to be possessed by a minor at any age ; 
all which time the regency acting under the cover of a king, 
have every opportunity and inducement to betray their 
trust. The same national misfortune happens, when a king, 
worn out with age and infirmity, enters the last stage of human 
weakness. , In both these cases the public becomes the prey 
to every miscreant, who can tamper successfully with the 
follies either of age or infancy. 

The most plausible plea, which hath ever teen offered in 
favor of hereditary succession, is, that it preserves a natiou 



COMMON SENSE. 19 

from civil wars : and were this true, it would be weighty ; 
whereas, it is the most barefaced falsity ever imposed ujpon 
mankind. The whole history of England disowns the met. 
Thirty kings and two minors have reigned in that distracted 
kingdom since the conquest, in which time there have been 
(including the revolution) no less than eight civil wars and 
nineteen rebellions. Wherefore instead of making for peace, 
it makes against it, and destroys the very foundation it 
seems to stand upon. 

The contest for monarchy and succession, between the 
houses of York and Lancaster, laid England in a scene of 
blood for many years. Twelve pitched battles, besides skir- 
mishes and sieges, were fought between Henry and Edward, 
twice was Henry prisoner to Edward, who in his turn was 
prisoner to Henry. And so uncertain is the fate of war 
and the temper of a nation, when nothing but personal 
matters are the ground of a quarrel, that Henry was taken 
in triumph from a prison to a palace, and Edward obliged 
to fly from a palace to a foreign land ; yet, as sudden tran- 
sitions of temper are seldom lasting, Henry in his turn was 
driven from the throne, and Edward recalled 1 to succeed him. 
The parliament always following the strongest side. 

This contest began in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and 
was not entirely extinguished till Henry the Seventh, in 
whom the families were united. Including a period of 67 
years, viz. from 1422 to 1489. 

In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or 
that kingdom only,) but the world in blood and ashes. "Us 
a form of government which the word of God bears testi- 
mony against, and blood will attend it. 

If we inquire into the business of a king, we shall find 
(and in some countries they have none) that after sauntering 
away their lives without pleasure to themselves or advan- 
tage to the nation, they withdraw from the scene, and leave 
their successors to tread the same useless and idle round. In 
absolute monarchies the whole weight of business, civil and 
military, lies on the king ; the children of Israel in their 
request for a king, urged this plea, " that he may judge us 
and go out before us and fight our battles." But in countries 
where he is neither a judge nor a general, as in England, a 
man would be puzzled to Know what is his business. 

The nearer any government approaches to a republic, the 
less business there is for a king. It is somewhat difficult to 
find a proper name for the government of England. Sb 



20 COMMON SENSE. 

William Meredith calls it a republic ; but in its present state 
it is unworthy of the name, because the corrupt influence 
of the crown, by having all the places at its disposal, hath 
so effectually swallowed up the power, and eaten out the 
virtue of the house of commons (the republican part in the 
constitution) that the government of England is nearly 
as monarchical as that of France or Spain. Men fall out 
with names without understanding them. For it is the 
republican and not the monarchical part of the constitution 
of England which Englishmen glory in, viz. the liberty of 
choosing a house of commons from out of their own body 
and it is easy to see that when republican virtue fails, slavery 
ensues. Why is the constitution of England sickly, but 
because monarchy hath poisoned the republic, the crown 
hath engrossed the commons. 

In England a king hath little more to do than to make 
war and give away places; which, in plain terms, is to 
impoverish the nation, and set it together by the ears. A 
pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hun- 
dred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the 
bargain ! Of more worth is one honest man to society, and 
in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever 
ived. 



THOUGHTS ON THE 

PRESENT STATE OF THE AMERICAN AFFAIRS. 

IN the following pages I offer nothing more than simple 
facts, plain arguments, and common sense ; and have no 
other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he 
will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer 
his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves ; that 
he will put on, or rather that he will not put off the true cha- 
racter of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond 
the present day. 

volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle 
between England and America. Men of all ranks have 
embarked in the controversy, from different motives, and 
with various designs ; but all have been ineffectual, and 
the period of debate is closed. Arms, as the last resource 



COMMON SENSE. 91 

must decide the contest ; the appeal was the choice of the 
king, and the continent hath accepted the challenge 

It has been reported of the late Mr. Pelham (who, though 
an able minister was not without his faults) that on his be- 
ing attacked in the house of commons, on the score, that his 
measures were only of a temporary kind, replied, " they will 
last my time" Should a thought so fatal or unmanly pos- 
sess the colonies in the present contest, the name of an- 
cestors will be remembered by future generations with detes- 
tation. 

The sun never shone on a cause of greater worth. Tis 
not the affair of a city, a county, a province, or a kingdom, 
but of a continent of at least one-eighth part of the habit- 
able globe. 'Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an 
age ; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will 
be more or less affected even to the end of time, by the pro- 
ceedings now. Now is the seed-time of continental union, 
faith and honor. The least fracture now will be like a 
name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of 
a young oak ; the wound will enlarge with the tree, and pos- 
terity read it in full grown characters. 

By referring the matter from argument to arms, a new 
area for politics is struck ; a new method of thinking hath 
arisen. All plans, proposals, etc. prior to the nineteenth of 
April, i. e. to the commencement of hostilities, are like the 
almanacks of last year ; which, though proper then, are 
superseded and useless now. Whatever was advanced by 
the advocates on either side of the question then, terminated 
in one and the same point, viz. a union with Great Britain ; 
the only difference between the parties was the method of 
effecting it ; the one proposing force, the other friendship ; 
but it hath so far happened that the first has failed, and 
the second has withdrawn her influence. 

As much hath been said of the advantages of reconcilia- 
tion, which, like an agreeable dream, hath passed away and 
left us as we were, it is but right that we should examine 
the contrary side of the argument, and inquire into some of 
the many material injuries which these colonies sustain, and 
always will sustain, by being connected with and dependant 
on Great Britain. To examine that connection and depend- 
ance, on the principles of nature and common sense, to see 
what we have to trust to, if separated, and what we are to 
expect, if dependant. 

I have heard it asserted by some that as America haa 



22 COMMON SENSE. 

flourished under her former connexion with Great Britain, 
the same connexion is necessary towards her future happi- 
ness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can 
be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as 
well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that 
it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of 
our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. 
But even this is admitting more than is true, for I answer 
roundly, that America would have flourished as much, and 
probably much more, had no European power had any 
thing to do with her. The articles of commerce, by which 
she has enriched herself, are the necessaries of life, and will 
always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe. 

But she has protected us, say some. That she hath en- 
grossed us is true, and defended the continent at our ex- 
pense as well as her own, is admitted, and she would have 
defended Turkey from the same motives, viz. for the sake of 
trade and dominion. 

Alas ! we have been long led away by ancient prejudices, 
and made large sacrifices to superstition. We have boasted 
the protection of Great Britain, without considering, that 
her motive was interest, not attachment / and that she did 
not protect us from our enemies on our account, but from 
her enemies on her own account, from those who had no 
quarrel with us on any other account, and who will aways 
be our enemies on the same account. Let Britain waive her 
pretentions to the continent, or the continent throw off the 
dependance, and we should be at peace with France and 
Spain, were they at war with Britain. The miseries of 
Hanover last war ought to warn us against connexions. 

It hath lately been asserted in parliament, that the colo- 
nies have no relation to each other but through the parent 
country, i. e. that Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and so on 
for the rest, are sister colonies by way of England ; that is 
certainly a very round-about way of proving relationship, 
but it is the nearest and only true way of proving enemy- 
ship, if I may so call it. France and Spain never were, nor 
perhaps ever will be, our enemies as Americans, but as our 
being the subjects of Great Britavn. 

But Britain is the parent country say some. Then the 
more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour 
their young, nor savages make war upon their families ; 
wherefore, the assertion, if true, turns to her reproach ; but 
it happens not to be true, or only partly so, and the phras* 



COMMON SENSE. 98 

parent or mother country hath been jee critically adopted by 
the king and his parasites, with a low papistical design of 
gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our 
minds. Europe, and not England, is the parent country of 
America. This new world hath been the asylum for the 
persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every 
part of Europe. Hither have they ned, not from the tender 
embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the mon- 
ster ; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny 
which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their 
descendants still. 

In this extensive quarter of the globe, we forget the nar- 
~ow limits of three nundred and sixty miles (the extent of 
England) and carry our friendship on a larger scale ; we 
claim brotherhood with every Europea"n Christian, and 
triumph in the generosity of the sentiment. 

It is pleasant to observe with what regular gradations we 
surmount local prejudices, as we enlarge our acquaintance 
with the world. A man born in any town in England 
divided into parishes, will naturally associate with most of 
his fellow parishioners (because their interest in many cases 
will be common) and distinguish him by the name of neigh- 
bor ; if he meet him but a few miles from home, he drops 
the narrow idea of a street, and salutes him by the name of 
townsman / if he travel out of the county, and meets him in 
any other, he forgets the minor divisions of street and town, 
and calls him countryman, i. e. counfyman ; but if in their 
foreign excursions they should associate in France or any 
other part of Ji/urope, their local remembrance would be en- 
larged into that or Englishman. And by a just parity of 
reasoning, all Europeans meeting in America, or any other 
quarter of the globe, are coimtrymen / for England, Holland, 
Germany, or Sweden, when compared with the whole, stand 
in the same places on the larger scale, which the divisions of 
street, town, and county do on the smaller one ; distinctions 
too limited for continental minds. Not one third of the in- 
habitants, even of this province, are of English descent. 
Wherefore, I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother 
country applied to England only, as being false, selfish, nar- 
row and ungenerous. 

But, admitting that we were all of English descent, what does 
it amount to ? Nothing. Britain being now an open enemy, 
extinguishes every other name and title: and 'to say that 
reconciliation is our duty is truly farcical. The first king 



24 COMMON SENSE. 

of England, of the present line (William the Conqueror) was 
Frenchman, and half the peers of England are descendants 
from the same country ; wherefore, by the same method of 
reasoning, England ought to be governed by France. 

Much nath been said of the united strength of Britain and 
the colonies, that in conjunction they might bid defiance to 
the world. But this is mere presumption ; the fate of war 
is uncertain, neither do the expressions mean any thing ; for 
this continent would never suffer itself to be drained of 
inhabitants, to support the British arms in either Asia, 
Africa, or Europe. 

Besides, what have we to do with setting the world at 
defiance ? Our plan is commerce, and that, we?l attended 
to, will secure us, the peace and friendship of all iiaro^e; 
because it is the interest of all Europe to have An. erica 
& free port. Her trade will always be a protection, and her 
barrenness of gold and silver secure her from invaders. 

I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to 
show a single advantage that this continent can reap, by 
being connected with Great Britain. I repeat the challenge ; 
not a single advantage is derived. Our corn will fetch its 
price in any ki<*rket in Europe, and our imported good* 
must be paid for, buy then) where we will. 

But the injuries aiid disadvantages which we sustain by 
that connexion, are without number ; and our duty to man- 
kind at large, as well as to ourselves, instructs us to renounce 
the alliance; because, any submission to or dependence on 
Great Britain, tends directly to involve this continent in 
European wars and quairels ; and sets us at variance with 
nations, who would otherwise seek oar friendship, and 
against whom, we have neither anger nor complaint. AE 
Europe is our market for trade, we ought to form no partial 
connexion with any part of it. It is the true interest of 
America to steer clear of European contentions, which she 
never can do, while, by her dependence on Britain, she is 
made the make- weight in the scale of British politics. 

Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long 
at peace, and whenever a war breaks out between England 
and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin. 
because of her connexion with Britain. The next war may 
not turn out like the last, and should it not, the advocates 
for reconciliation now will be wishing for separation then, 
because, neutrality in that case, would be a safer convoy 
than a man of war. Every thing that is right or natural 



OOMMOfl 8KK8&. 2fr 

pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping- 
voice of nature cries, "*tis time to pcvrt. Even the distance 
at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, 
is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one 
over the other, was never the design of heaven. The time 
likewise at which the continent was discovered, adds weight 
to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled, 
increases the force of it. The reformation was precedea by 
the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously 
meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, 
when home should afford neither friendship nor safety. 

The authority of Great Britain over this continent, is 
a form of government, which sooner or later must have an 
end : and a serious mind can draw no true pleasure by look- 
ing forward under the painful and positive conviction, that 
what he calls " the present constitution," is merely tempo- 
rary. As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this 
government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing 
which we may bequeath to posterity ; and by a plain me- 
thod of argument, as we are running the next generation 
into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use 
them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of 
our duty rightly, we should take our children in our hand, 
and fix our station a few years farther into life ; that emi- 
nence will present a prospect, which a few present fears and 
prejudices conceal from our sight. 

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary of- 
fence, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse 
the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the 
following descriptions. 

Interested men, who are not to be trusted ; weak men, 
who cannot see ; prejudiced men, who witt not see ; and a 
certain set of moderate men, who think better of the Euro- 
pean world than it deserves : and this last class, by an ill- 
judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to 
this continent than all the other three. 

It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the 
scene of sorrow ; the evil is not sufficiently brought to their 
doors to make them feel the precariousness with which all 
American property is possessed. But let our imaginations 
transport us a few moments to Boston ; that seat of wretch- 
edness will teach us wisdom, and instruct us forever to re- 
nounce a power in whom we can have no trust. The inha- 
bitants of that unfortunate city, who 1m r :\. few nr.nthp. ago 



26 COMMON SENSE. 

were in ease and affluence, have now no other alternative 
than to stay and starve, or turn out to beg. Endangered by 
the fire of their friends if they continue within the city, and 
plundered by the soldiery if they leave it. In their present 
situation they are prisoners without the hope of redemption, 
and in a general attack for their relief, they would be ex- 
posed to the fury of both armies. 

Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the 
offences of Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to 
call out, " come, come, we shall ~be friends again, for all tnis" 
But examine the passions and feelings of mankind, bring 
the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, 
and then tell me, whether you can hereafter love, honor, 
and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and 
Bword into your land ? If you cannot do all these, then are 
j i only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing 
ruin upon your posterity. Your future connexion with Bri- 
tain, whom you can neither love nor honor, will be forced 
and unnatural, and being formed only on the plan of pre- 
sent convenience, will in a little time fall into a relapse 
more wretched than the first. But if you say, you can still 
pass the violations over, then I ask, hath your house been 
burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your 
face ? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie 
on, or bread to live on ? Have you lost a parent or a child 
bv their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched sur- 
vivor? If you have not, then are you not a judge of those 
who have? But if you have, and can still shake hands 
with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of 
husband, father, friend, or lover, and whatever may be your 
rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the 
spirit of a sycophant. 

This is not inflaming or exaggerating matters, but trying 
them by those feelings and affections which nature justifies, 
and without which, we should be incapable of discharging 
the social duties of life, or enjoying the felicities of it. I 
mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking re- 
venge, but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbers, 
that we may pursue determinately some fixed object. It is 
not in the power of Britain or of Europe to conquer Ame- 
rica, if she does not conquer herself by delay and timidity 
The present winter is worth an age if rightly employed, but 
if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the 
misfortune ; and there is no punishment which that man 



COMMON SENSE. 37 

mil not deserve, be he who ? or wnat, or where he will, that 
may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and 
useful. 

It is repugnant to reason, and the universal order of 
things, to all examples from former ages, to suppose that 
this continent can longer remain subject to any external 
power. The most sanguine in Britain, do not think so. 
The utmost stretch of human wisdom cannot, at this time, 
compass a plan short of separation, which can promise the 
continent even a year's security. Reconciliation is now a 
fallacious dream. Nature hath deserted the connexion, and 
art cannot supply her place. For, as Milton wisely expresses, 
"never can true reconcilement grow, where wounds of 
deadly hate have pierced so deep. 

Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. Our 
prayers have been rejected with disdain ; and only tended 
to convince us that nothing flatters vanity, or confirms ob- 
stinacy in kings more than repeated petitioning nothing 
hath contributed more than this very measure to make the 
kings of Europe absolute : witness Denmark and Sweden. 
Wherefore, since nothing but blows will do, for God's sake 
let us come to a final separation, and not leave the next ge- 
neration to be cutting throats, under the violated unmeaning 
names of parent and child. 

To say they will never attempt it again, is idle and vision- 
ary ; we thought so at the repeal of the stamp act, yet a 
year or two undeceived us : as well may we suppose that 
nations, which have been once defeated, will never renew 
the quarrel. 

As to government matters, it is not in the power of Bri- 
tain to do this continent justice: the business of it wiil 
goon be too weighty and intricate to be managed with any 
tolerable degree of convenience, by a power so distant from 
us, and so very ignorant of us ; for if they cannot conquer 
us, they cannot govern us. To be always running three or 
four thousand miles with a tale or a petition, waiting four 
or five months for an answer, which, when obtained, requires 
five or six more to explain it in, will in a few years be 
looked upon as folly and childishness there was a time 
when it was proper, and there is a proper time for it to 
cease. 

Small islands, not capable of protecting themselves, are 
the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care ; 
hut there is something absurd, in supposing a continent to 



28 COMMON SENSE. 

be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath 
nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet ; and 
as England and America, with respect to each other, reverse* 
the common order of nature, it is evident that they belong 
to different systems : England to Europe America to itself. 

I am not induced by motives of pride, party, or resent- 
ment, to espouse the doctrine of separation and indepen- 
dence; I am clearly, positively, and conscientiously per- 
suaded that it is the true interest of this continent to be so ; 
that every thing short of that is mere patchwork ; that it 
can afford no lasting felicity, that it is leaving the sword 
to our children, and shrinking back at a time, when going 
a little further would have rendered this continent the glory 
of the earth. 

As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination 
towards a compromise, we may be assured that no terms 
can be obtained worthy the acceptance of the continent, or 
any ways equal to the expense of blood and treasure we 
have been already put to. 

The object contended for, ought always to bear some just 
proportion to the expense. The removal of North, or the 
whole detestable junto, is a matter unworthy the millions 
we have expended. A temporary stoppage of trade, was an 
inconvenience which would nave sufficiently balanced the re- 
peal of all the acts complained of, had such repeals been 
obtained ; but if the whole continent must take up arms, if 
every man must be a soldier, it is scarcely worth our while 
to nght against a contemptible ministry only. Dearly, 
dearly do we pay for the repeal of the acts, if that is all we 
fight for ; for, in a just estimation, it is as great a folly to pay 
a Bunker-hill price for law as for land. I have always con- 
sidered the independency of this continent, as an event which 
sooner or later must take place, and, from the late rapid 
progress of the continent to maturity, the event cannot be 
far off. Wherefore, on the breaking out of hostilities, it was 
not worth the while to have disputed a matter which time 
would have finally redressed, unless we meant to be in ear- 
nest ; otherwise, it is like wasting an estate on a suit at law, 
to regulate the trespasses of a tenant, whose lease is just ex- 
piring. No man was a warmer wisher for a reconciliation 
than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April, 1775,* but 
the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected 
the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England for ever : 

* Massacre at Lexington. 



COMMON SENSE. 29 

and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended title of 
Father of his people, can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, 
and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul. 

But admitting that matters were now made up, what 
would be the event ? I answer, the ruin of the continent. 
And that for several reasons. 

1st, The powers of governing still remaining in the hands 
of the king, he will have a negative over the whole legisla- 
tion of this continent. And as he hath shown himself such 
an inveterate enemy to liberty, and discovered such a thirst 
for arbitrary power : is he, or is he not, a proper person to 
say to these colonies, " you shatt make no laws but what I 
please t" And is there any inhabitant of America so igno- 
rant as not to know, that according to what is called the 
present constitution, this continent can make no laws but 
what the king gives leave to ? and is there any man so un- 
wise as not to see, that (considering what has nappened) he 
will suffer no law to be made here, but such as suits hi* 
purpose ? We may be as effectually enslaved by the want 
of laws in America, as by submitting to laws made for us in 
England. After matters are made up (as it is called) can 
there be any doubt, but the whole power of the crown will 
be exerted, to keep this continent as low and humble as pos- 
sible ? Instead or going forward we shall go backward, or 
be perpetually quarrelling, or ridiculously petitioning. We 
are already greater than the king wishes us to be, and will 
he not hereafter endeavor to make us less ? To bring the 
matter to one point, Is the power who is jealous of our pros- 
perity, a proper power to govern us ? Whoever says JWo, to 
this question, is an independent, for independency means no 
more than this, whether we shall make our own laws, or, 
whether the king, the greatest enemy which this continent 
hath, or can have, shall tell us, " there shatt be no laws but 
such as Ilike" 

But the Mug, you will say, has a negative in England ; 
the people there can make no laws without his consent. In 
point of right and good order, it is something very ridiculous, 
that a youth of twenty-one (which hath often happened) shall 
say to several millions of people, older and wiser than him- 
self, I forbid this or that act of yours to be law. But in this 
place I decline this sort of reply, though I will never cease 
to expose the absurdity of it ; and only answer, that England 
being the king's residence, and America not, makes quite 
another case. The king's negative here is ten times more 



30 COMMON SENSE. 

dangerons and fatal than it can be in England ; for there 
he will scarcely refuse his consent to a bill for putting 
England into as strong a state of defence as possible, 
and in America he would never suffer such a bill to be 
passed. 

America is only a secondary object in the system of Brit- 
ish politics England consults the good of this country no 
further than it answers her own purpose. Wherefore, her 
own interest leads her to suppress the growth of ours in 
every case which doth not promote her advantage, or in the 
least interferes with it. A pretty state we should soon be in 
under a second-hand government, considering what has hap- 
pened ! Men do not change from enemies to friends, by the 
alteration of a name ; and in order to show that reconcilia- 
tion now is a dangerous doctrine, I affirm, that it would be 
policy in the king at this time, to repeal the acts, for the sake 
of reinstating himself in the government of the provinces ; in 
order that he may accomplish by craft and subtlety, in the 
long run, what he cannot do by force in the short one. Eecon 
ciliation and ruin are nearly related. 

2dly, That as even the best terms, which we can expect to 
obtain, can amount to no more than a temporary expedient, 
or a land of government by guardianship, which can last 
no longer than till the colonies come of age, so the general 
face and state of things, in the interim, will be unsettled 
and unpromising. Emigrants of property will not choose 
to come to a country whose form of government hangs but 
by a thread, and which is every day tottering on the orink 
of commotion and disturbance ; and numbers of the present 
inhabitants would lay hold of the interval, to disDOse of their 
effects, and quit the continent. 

But the most powerful of all arguments, is, that nothing 
but independence, i. e. a continental form of government, 
can keep the peace of the continent and preserve it inviolate 
from civil wars. I dread the event of a reconciliation with 
Britain now, as it is more than probable that it will be fol- 
lowed by a revolt somewhere or other, the consequences of 
which may be far more fatal than all the malice of Bri- 
tain. 

Thousands are aiready ruined by British barbarity. 
(Thousands more will probably suffer the same fate.) Those 
men have other feelings than us who have nothing suffered. 
All they now possess is liberty, what they before enjoyed is 
sacrificed to its service, and having nothing more to lose, 



COMMON SENSE. 31 



they disdain submission. Besides, the general temper of 
the colonies, towards a British government, will be like that 
of a youth, who is nearly out of his time ; they will care 
very little about her. And a government which cannot 
preserve the peace, is no government at all, and in that case 
we pay our money for nothing ; and pray what is it that 
Britain can do, whose power will be wholly on paper, should 
a civil tumult break out the very day after reconciliation ? 
I have heard some men say, many of whom I believe spoke 
without thinking, that they dreaded an independence, fear- 
ing that it would produce civil wars. It is but seldom that 
our first thoughts are truly correct, and that is the case here ; 
for there is ten times more to dread from a patched up con- 
aexion than from independence. I make the sufferer's case 
my own, and I protest, that were I driven from house and 
home, my property destroyed, and my circumstances ruined, 
that as a man, sensible of injuries, I could never relish the 
doctrine of reconciliation, or consider myself bound 
thereby. 

The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order 
and obedience to continental government, as is sufficient to 
make every reasonable person easy and happy on that head. 
No man can assign the least pretence for ms fears, on any 
other grounds, than such as are truly childish and ridicu- 
lous, wz. that one colony will be striving for superiority over 
another. 

Where there are no distinctions there can be no superi- 
ority ; perfect equality affords no temptation. The repub- 
lics of Europe are all (and we may say always) in peace. 
Holland and Switzerland are without wars, foreign or do- 
mestic ; monarchical governments, it is true, are never lone 
at rest : the crown itself is a temptation to enterprising ruf- 
fians at home ; and that degree of pride and insolence ever 
attendant on regal authority, swells into a rupture with 
foreign powers, in instances where a republican government, 
by being formed on more natural principles, would negotiate 
tne mistake. 

If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence, 
it is because no plan is yet laid down. Men do not see their 
way out, wherefore, as an opening into that business, I offer 
the following hints ; at the sa le time modestly affirming, 
that I have no other opinion o 1 them myself, than that they 
may be the means of giving rii $to something better. Could 
the straggling thoughts of ir tividuals be collected, they 



$2 COMMON BEN8X. 

would frequently form materials for wise and able men to 
improve into useful matter. 

Let the assemblies be annual, with a president only. The 
representation more equal. Their business wholly do- 
mestic, and subject to the authority of a continental con- 
gress. 

Let each colony be divided into six, eight, or ten, con- 
venient districts, each district to send a proper number of 
delegates to congress, so that each colony send at least thirty. 
The whole number in Congress will be at least three hun- 
dred and ninety. Each congress to sit and to 

choose a president by the following method. When the de- 
legates are met, let a colony be taken from the whole thir- 
teen colonies by lot, after which, let the congress choose (by 
ballot) a president from out of the delegates of that pro- 
vince. In the next congress, let a colony be taken by lot 
from twelve only, omitting that colony from which the pre- 
sident was taken in the former congress, and so proceeding 
on till the whole thirteen shall have had their proper rotation. 
Ajad in order that nothing may pass into a law but w";at is 
satisfactorily just, not less than three-fifths of the Congress 
to be called a majority. He that will promote discord, un- 
der a government so equally formed as this, would have 
joined Lucifer in his revolt. 

But as there is a peculiar delicacy, from whom, or in what 
manner this business must first arise, and as it seems most 
agreeable and consistent, that it should come from some in- 
termediate body between the governed and the governors, 
that is, between the congress and the people, let a Conti- 
nental Conference "be held, in the following manner, and for 
the following purpose, 

A committee of twenty-six members of congress, viz. two 
for each colony. Two members from each house of assem- 
bly, or provincial convention ; and five representatives of 
the people at large, to be chosen in the capital city or town 
of each province, for, and in behalf of the whole province, 
by as many qualified voters as shall think proper to attend 
from all parts of the province for that purpose ; or, if more 
convenient, the representatives may be chosen in two or 
three of the most populous parts thereof. In this conference, 
thus assembled, will be united, the two grand principles of 
business, knowledge and power. The members of congress, 
assemblies, or conventions, by having had experience in na- 
tional concerns, will be able and useiul counsellors, and the 



COMMON SENSE. 38 

whole, being empowered by the people, will have a truly 
legal authority. 

The conferring members being met, let their business be 
to frame a Continental Charter, or Charter of the United 
Colonies ; (answering to what is called the Magna Charta 
of England) fixing the number and manner of choosing 
members of Congress, and members of assembly, with their 
date of sitting, and drawing the line of business and juris- 
diction between them : (always remembering, that our 
strength is continental, not provincial) securing freedom and 
property to all men, and above all tilings, the free exercise 
of religion, according to the dictates 01 conscience ; with 
such other matter as it is necessary for a charter to contain. 
Immediately after which, the said conference to dissolve, 
and the bodies which shall be chosen conformable to the 
said charter, to be the legislators and governors of this con- 
tinent for the time being : whose peace and happiness, may 
God preserve, Amen. 

Should any body of men be hereafter delegated for this 
or some similar purpose, I offer them the following extracts 
from that wise observer on governments, Dragonetti. " The 
science," says he, " of the politician consists in fixing the 
true point of happiness and freedom. Those men would 
deserve the gratitude of ages, who should discover a mode 
of government that contained the greatest sum of individual 
Happiness, with the least national expense." 

But where, say some, is the king of America ? I'll tell 
you, friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of 
mankind like the royal brute of Britain. Yet that we may 
not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day 
be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter ; let it be 
brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God ; 
let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may 
know, that so mr as we approve of monarchy, that in 
America the law is king. For as in absolute governments 
the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be 
king ; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use 
should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of 
the ceromony be demolished, and scattered among the people 
whose right it is. 

A government of our own is our natural right : and when 
a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human 
affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser 
and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deli- 



84 COMMON SENSE. 

berate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust 
such an interesting event to time and chance. If we omit it 
now, some Massanello* may hereafter arise, who, laying 
hold of popular disquietudes, may collect together the des- 
perate and the discontented, and by assuming to themselves 
the powers of government, finally sweep away the liberties 
of the continent like a deluge. Should the government of 
America return again into the hands of Britain, the totter- 
ing situation of things will be a temptation for some desper- 
ate adventurer to try his fortune ; and in such a case, what 
relief can Britain give ? Ere she could hear the news, the 
fatal business might be done ; and ourselves suffering like 
the wretched Britons under the oppression of the Conqueror. 
Ye that oppose independence now, ye know not what ye do ; 
ye are opening a door to eternal tyranny, by keeping vacant 
the seat of government. There are thousands and tens of 
thousands, who would think it glorious to expel from the 
continent, that barbarous and hellish power, which hath 
stirred up the Indians and negroes to destroy us the 
cruelty hath a double guilt, it is dealing brutally by us, and 
treacherously by them. 

To talk of friendship with those in whom our reason for- 
bids us to have faith, and our affections, wounded through a 
thousand pores, instruct us to detest, is madness and folly. 
Every day wears out the little remains of kindred between 
us and them ; and can there be any reason to hope, that as 
the relationship expires, the affection will increase, or that 
we shall agree better when we have ten times more and 
greater concerns to quarrel over than ever ? 

Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliation, can ye re- 
store to us the time that is past ? Can ye give to prostitu- 
tion its former innocence ? Neither can ye reconcile Britain 
and America. The last cord now is broken, the people of 
England are presenting addresses against us. There are in- 
juries which nature cannot forgive ; she would cease to be 
nature if she did. As well can the lover forgive the ravisher 
of his mistress, as the continent forgive the murders of Bri- 
tain. The Almighty hath implanted within us these unex- 
tinguishable feelings, for good and wise purposes. They are 
ihe guardians of his image in our hearts, and distinguish us 

* Thomas Anello, otherwise Massanello, a fisherman of Naples, who after 
spiriting- up his countrymen in the public market place, against the oppression 
of the Spaniards, to whom the place \vas then subject, prompted them to 
revolt, and in the space of a day became king, 



COMMON SENSE. 85 

from the herd of common animals. The social compact 
would dissolve, and justice be extirpated from the earth, or 
have only a casual existence were we callous to the touches 
of affection. The robber, and the murderer, would often 
escape unpunished, did not the injuries which our tempers 
sustain, provoke us into justice. 

O I ye that love mankind ! Ye that dare oppose, not only 
the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth ! Every spot of the 
old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been 
hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long ex- 
pelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England 
hath given her warning to depart. 1 receive the fugitive, 
and prepare in time an asylum for mankind. 



ON THE PRESENT ABILITY OP AMERICA. 

WITH 80MB MISCELLANEOUS REFLECTIONS. 

I HAVE never met with a man, either in England or Arnei 
tea, who hath not confessed his opinion, that a separation 
between the countries would take place one time or other ; 
and there is no instance, in which we have shown less judg- 
ment, than in endeavoring to describe, what we can, the 
ripeness or fitness of the continent for independence. 

As all men allow the measure, and vary only in their 
opinion of the time, let us, in order to remove mistakes, take 
a general survey of things, and endeavor, if possible, to find 
out the very time. But we need not go far, the inquiry 
ceases at once, for, the time hath found us. The general 
concurrence, the glorious union of all things proves the fact. 

It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength 
lies ; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force 
of all the world. The continent hath at this time, the largest 
body of armed and disciplined men of any power under 
heaven ; and is just arrived at that pitch of strength, in 
which, no single colony is able to support itself, and the 
whole, when united, can accomplish the matter, and either 
more, or less than this, might be fatal in its effects. Our 



6 COMMON SENSE. 

land force is already sufficient, and as to naval affairs, we 
cannot be insensible that Britain would never suffer an 
American man of war to be built while the continent re- 
mained in her hands. Wherefore, we should be no forwarder 
an hundred years hence in that branch, than we are now ; 
but the truth is, we should be less so, because the timber of 
the country is every day diminishing, and that which will 
remain at last, will be far off or difficult to procure. 

Were the continent crowded with inhabitants, her suffer- 
ings under the present circumstances would be intolerable. 
The more seaport-towns we had, the more should we have 
both to defend and to lose. Our present numbers are so 
happily proportioned to our wants, that no man need be 
idle. The diminution of trade affords an army, and the ne- 
cessities of an army create a new trade. Debts we have 
none : and whatever we may contract on this account will 
serve as a glorious memento of our virtue. Can we but 
leave posterity with a settled form of government, an inde- 
pendent constitution of its own, the purchase at any price 
will be cheap. But to expend millions for the sake of get- 
ting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the present minis- 
try only, is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity with 
the utmost cruelty; because it is leaving them the great 
work to do, and a debt upon their backs, from which they 
derive no advantage. Such a thought is unworthy a man 
of honor, and is the true characteristic of a narrow heart and 
a peddling politician. 

The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard, if 
the work be but accomplished. No nation ought to be 
without a debt. A national debt is a national bond ; and 
when it bears no interest, is in no case a grievance. Britain 
is oppressed with a debt of upwards of one hundred and 
forty millions sterling, for which she pays upwards of four 
millions interest. And as a compensation for her debt, she 
has a large navy ; America is without a debt, and without a 
navy ; yet for the twentieth part of the English national 
debt, could have a navy as large again. The navy of Eng- 
land is not worth, at this time, more than three million and 
a half sterling. 

The following calculations are given as a proof that the 
above estimation of the navy is a just one. [See 
Na/ocH History, Intro, p. 56.] 



COMMON SENSE. 



37 



fte charge of building a ship of each rate, and furnishing her with masts, 
yards, sails, and rigging, together with a proportion of eight months boat- 
swain's and carpenter's sea-stores, as calculated by Mr. Burchett, secretary 
to the navy. 



For a ship of 100 guns, 
90 
80 
70 
60 
60 
40 
SO 




85,553/. 

29,886 

23,638 

17,785 

14,197 

10,606 

7,558 

6,846 

8,710 



hence it is easy to sum up the value, or cost, rather, 
of the whole British navy, which, in the year 1757, when it 
was at its greatest glory, consisted of the following ships 
guns. 



Ships. Gfvns. Cost of ons. Cost of all. 


6 


100 


65,553*. 


218-8 18/. 


12 


90 


29,886 


358,632 


12 


80 


23,688 


283,656 


43 


70 


17,786 


704,755 


85 


60 


14,197 


496,896 


40 


50 


10,605 


424,240 


45 


40 


7,558 


840,110 


58 


20 


8,710 


215,180 


'85 Sloops, bombs, and ) 


fireships, one with t 2,000 170,000 




Cost, 8,266,786/. 


. Remains for guns, 233,214 



Total, 8,500,OOOZ. 

No country on the globe is so happily situated, or so 
internally capable of raising a fleet as America. Tar, 
timber, iron and cordage are her natural produce. We 
need go abroad for nothing. Whereas, the Dutch, who make 
large profits by hiring out their ships of war to the Span- 
iards and Portuguese, are obliged to import most of the 
materials they use. We ought to view the building of a 
fleet as an article of commerce, it being the natural manu- 
facture of this country. It is the best money we can lay out. 
A navy when finished is worth more than it cost: and is 
that nice point in national policy, in which commerce and 
protection are united. Let us build; if we want them 
not, we can sell ; and by that means replace our paper 
rency with ready gold and silver. 



38 COMMON 

r 

In point of manning a fleet, people in general run into 
great errors ; it is not necessary that one-fourth part should be 
Bailors. The privateer Terrible, Captain Death, stood the 
hottest engagement of any ship last war, yet had not twenty 
sailors on board, though her complement of men waa 
upwards of two hundred. A few able and social sailors 
will soon instruct a sufficient numier of active landsmen in 
the common work of a ship. Wherefore, we never can be 
more capable of beginning on maritime matters than now, 
while our timber is standing, our fisheries blocked up, and 
our sailors and shipwrights out of employ. Men of war, 
of seventy and eighty guns, were built forty years ago in 
]STew England, and why not the same now ? Ship building 
is America's greatest pride, and in which she will, in time, 
excel the whole world. The great empires of the east are 
mostly inland, and consequently excluded from the possi- 
bility of rivalling her. Africa is in a state of barbarism ; 
and no power in Europe, hath either such an extent of coast, 
or such an internal supply of materials. Where nature hath 
given the one, she hath withheld the other ; to America only 
hath she been liberal of both. The vast empire of Russia 
is almost shut out from the sea ; wherefore, her boundless 
forests, her tar, iron, and cordage are only articles of 
commerce. 

In point of safety, ought we to be without a fleet ? We 
are not the little people now, which we were sixty years 
ago ; at that time we might have trusted our property in the 
streets, or fields rather ; and slept securely without locks or 
bolts to our doors or windows. The case is now altered, and 
our methods of defence ought to improve with our increase 
of property. A common pirate, twelve months ago, might 
have come up the Delaware, and laid this city under contri- 
bution for what sum he pleased ; and the same might have 
happened to other places. Nay, any daring fellow, ,u a 
brig of fourteen or sixteen guns, might have robbed the 
whole continent, and carried off half a million of money. 
These are circumstances which demand our attention, and 
point out the necessity of naval protection. 

Some perhaps, will say, that after we have made it up 
with Britain, she will protect us. Can they be so unwise as 
to mean, that she will keep a navy in our harbors for that 
purpose ? Common sense will tell us, that the power which 
nath endeavored to subdue us, is of all others, the most im- 
proper to defend us. Conquest may be effected under the 



COMMON SENSE. 



pretence of friendship ; and ourselves, after a long and brave 
resistance, be at last cheated into slavery. And if her ships 
are not to be admitted into our harbors, I would ask, how is 
she to protect us ? A navy three or four thousand miles off 
can be of little use, and on sudden emergencies, none at all. 
Wherefore, if we must hereafter protect ourselves, why not 
do it for ourselves? Why do it for another? 

The English list of ships of war, is long and formidable, 
but not a tenth part of tnem are at any one time fit for ser- 
vice, numbers of them are not in being ; yet their names are 
pompously continued in the list, if only a plank be left of 
the snip ; and not a fifth part of such as are fit for service, 
can be spared on any one station at one time. The East 
and West Indies, Mediterranean, Africa, and other parts of 
the world, over which Britain extends her claim, make large 
demands upon her navy. From a mixture of prejudice and 
inattention, we have contracted a false notion respecting the 
navy of England, and have talked as if we should have the 
whole of it to encounter at once, and, for that reason, sup- 
posed we must have one as large ; which not being instantly 
practicable, has been majie use of by a set of disguised to- 
ries to discourage our beginning thereon. Nothing can be 
further from truth than this; for if America had only a 
twentieth part of the naval force of Britain, she would be by 
far an over-match for her ; because, as we neither have, nor 
claim any foreign dominion, our whole force would be em- 
ployed on our own coast, where we should, in the long run, 
have two to one the advantage of those who had three or 
four thousand miles to sail over, before they could attack 
us, and the same distance to return in order to refit and re- 
cruit. And although Britain, by her fleet, hath a check 
over our trade to Europe, we have as large a one over her 
trade to the West Indies, which, by laying in the neighbor 
hood of the continent, is entirely at its mercy. 

Some method might be fallen on to keep up a naval force 
in time of peace, 'f we should not judge it necessary to sup- 
port a constan; navy. If, premiums were to be given to 
merchants, to build and employ in their service, ship* 
mounted with twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty guns, (the pre- 
miums to be in proportion to the loss of bulk to the mer- 
chants,) fifty or sixty of those ships with a few guardships 
un constant duty, would keep up a sufficient navy, and that 
without burdening ourselves with the evil so loudly com- 
plained of iu England, of suffering their fleet in time of 



40 COMMON SENSE. 

f 

peace, to lie rotting in the docks. To unite the sinews of 
commerce and defence is sound policy; for when our 
strength and our riches play into each other's hand, we need 
fear no external enemy. 

In almost every article of defence we abound. Hemp 
flourishes even to rankness, so that we need not want cord- 
age. Our iron is superior to that of other countries. Our 
small arms equal to any in the world. Cannon we can cast 
at pleasure. Saltpetre and gunpowder we are every day 
producing. Our knowledge is hourly improving. Resolu- 
tion is our inherent character, and courage hath neveryet 
forsaken us. "Wherefore, what is it that we want ? Why 
is it that we hesitate ? From Britain we can expect nothing 
but ruin. If she is once admitted to the government of Ame- 
rica again, this continent will not be worth living in. Jea- 
lousies will be always arising, insurrections will be con- 
stantly happening ; and who will go forth to quell them ? 
"W ho will venture his life to reduce his own countrymen to 
a foreign obedience? The difference between Pennsylvania 
and Connecticut, respecting some unlocated lands, shows 
the insignificance of a British government, and fully proves 
that nothing but continental authority can regulate conti- 
nental matters. 

Another reason why the present time is preferable to all 
others, is, that the fewer our numbers are, the more land 
there is yet unoccupied, which, instead of being lavished by 
the king on his worthless dependants, may be hereafter ap- 
plied, not only to the discharge of the present debt, but to 
the constant support of government. No nation under 
heaven hath such an advantage as this. 

The infant state of the colonies, as it is called, so far from 
being against, is an argument in favor of independence. "We 
are sufficiently numerous, and were we more so we might 
be less united. It is a matter worthy of observation, that 
the more a country is peopled, the smaller their armies are. 
In military numbers, the ancients far exceeded the moderns : 
and the reason is evident, for trade being the consequence 
of population, men become too much absorbed thereby to 
attend to any thing else. Commerce diminishes the spirit 
both of patriotism and military defence. And history suffi- 
ciently informs us, that the bravest achievements were 
always accomplished in the non-age of a nation. "With the 
increase of commerce England hath lost its spirit. The city 
of London, notwithstanding its numbers, s ... mite to con- 



COMMON SENSE. 41 

% 

timied insults with the patience of a coward. The more 
men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The 
rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly 
power with the trembling duplicity of a spaniel 

Youth is the seed-time of good habits, as well in nations 
as in individuals. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to 
form the continent into one government half a century 
hence. The vast variety of interests, occasioned by an in- 
crease of trade and population, would create confusion. 
Colony would be against colony. Each being able, might 
scorn each other's assistance: and while the proud and 
foolish gloried in their little distinctions, the wise would 
lament that the union had not been formed before. Where- 
fore the present fo'weisthe true time for establishing it. The 
intimacy which is contracted in infancy, and the friendship 
which is formed in misfortune, are, of all others, the most 
lasting and unalterable. Our present union is marked with 
Doth these characters; we are young, and we have been 
distressed ; but our concord hath withstood our troubles, 
and fixes a memorable era for posterity to glory in. 

The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time which 
never happens to a nation but once, vis. the time of forming 
itself into a government. Most nations have let slip the 
opportunity, and by that means have been compelled to re- 
ceive laws from their conquerors, instead of making laws 
for themselves. First, they had a king, and then a form of 
government ; whereas the articles or charter of government, 
should be formed first, and men delegated to execute them 
afterwards : but from the errors of other nations, let us learn 
wisdom, and lay hold of the present opportunity to begin 
government at the right end. 

"When William the Conqueror subdued England, he gave 
them law at the point of the sword ; and, until we consent 
that the seat of government in America be legally and 
authoritatively occupied, we shall be in danger of naving it 
filled by some fortunate ruffian, who may treat us in the . 
same manner, and then, where will be our freedom ? where 
our property ? 

As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all 
governments to protect all conscientious professors thereof, 
and I know of no other business which government hath to 
do therewith. Let a man throw aside that narrowness of 
soul, that selfishness of principle, which the niggards of all 
professions are so unwilling to part with, and ne will be at 



4:2 COMMON SENSE. 

once delivered of hi& fears on that head. Suspicion is tha 
ompanion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society. 
For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the 
will of the Almighty, that there should be a diversity of re- 
ligious opinions among us : it affords a larger field for our 
O.vistian kindness. Were we all of one way of thinking, 
o;i;- religious dispositions would want matter for probation ; 
and on this liberal principle, I look on the various denomi- 
nations among us, to be like children of the same family, 
differing only in what is called their Christian names. 

In a former page, I threw out a few thoughts on the pro- 
priety of a Continental Charter (for I only presume to offer 
hints, not plans) and in this place, I take the liberty of re- 
mentioning the subject, by observing that a charter is to be 
understood as a bond of solemn obligation, which the whole 
enters into, to support the right of every separate part, 
whether of religion, personal freedom, or property. A firm 
bargain and a right reckoning make long friends. 

I have heretofore likewise mentioned the necessity of a 
large and equal representation; and there is no political 
matter which more deserves our attention. A small num- 
ber of electors, or a small number of representatives, are 
equally dangerous. But if the number of the representa- 
tives be not only small, but unequal, the danger is increased. 
As an instance of this, I mention the following : when the 
associators' petition was before the house of assembly of 
Pennsylvania, twenty-eight members only were present ; all 
the Bucks county members, being eight, voted against it. 
and had seven of the Chester members done the same, this 
whole province had been governed by two counties only ; 
and this danger it is always exposed to. The unwarrantable 
stretch likewise, which that house made in their last sitting, 
to gain an undue authority over the delegates of this pro- 
vince, ought to warn the people at large, how they trust power 
out of their own hands. A set of instructions for their dele- 
gates were put together, which in point of sense and busi- 
ne&s would have dishonoured a school-boy, and after being 
approved by a, few, a very few, without doors, were carried 
into the house, and there passed in behalf of the whole 
colony ; whereas, did the whole colony know with what iL 
will that house had entered on some necessary public mea- 
sures, they would not hesitate a moment to think them 
unworthy of such a trust. 

Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which 



COMMON SENSE. 48 

if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and 
right are different things. When the calamities of America 
required a consultation, there was no method so ready, or at 
that time so proper, as to appoint persons from the several 
houses of assembly for that purpose ; and the wisdom with 
which they have proceeded hath preserved this continent from 
ruin. But as it is more than probable that we shall never 
be without a Congress, every well-wisher to good order must 
own, that the mode for choosing members of that body, 
deserves consideration. And I put it as a question to 
those, who make a study of mankind, whether representa- 
tion and election is not too great a power for one and the 
same body of men to possess ? Whenever we are planning 
for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not 
hereditary. 

It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent max- 
ims, and are frequently surprised into reason by their 
mistakes. Mr. Cornwall (one of the lords of the treasury) 
treated the petition of the New- York assembly with con- 
tempt, because that house, he said, consisted but of twenty- 
six members, which trifling number, he argued, could not 
with decency be put for the whole. We thank him for his 
involuntary honesty.* 

To conclude. However strange it may appear to some, 
or however unwilling they may be to think so, matters not, 
but many strong and striking reasons may be given, to show, 
that nothing can settle our affairs so expeditiously as an 
open and determined declaration for independence. Some 
01 which are, 

1st, It is the custom of nations, when any two are at war, 
for some other powers, not engaged in the quarrel, to step 
in as mediators, and bring about the preliminaries of a 

Ejace; but while America calls herself the subject of 
ritain, no power, however well disposed she may be, can 
offer her mediation. Wherefore, in our present state, we 
may quarrel on for ever. 

2d, It is unreasonable to suppose, that France or Spain 
will give us any kind of assistance, if we mean only to 
make use of that assistance for the purpose of repairing the 
breach and strengthening the connexion between Britain 
and America ; because, those powers would be sufferers by 
the consequences. 

* Those who would fully understand of what great consequence a large and 
qual representation is to a state, should read Burgh's Political Disquisitions. 



44 COMMON SENSE. 

3d, "While we profess ourselves the subjects of Britain, w 
must, in the eyes of foreign nations, be considered as rebels. 
The precedent is somewhat dangerous to their peace, for men 
to be in arms under the name of subjects ; we, on the spot, 
can solve the paradox: but to unite resistance and subjec- 
tion, requires an idea much too refined for common under- 
standing. 

4th, Should a manifesto be published, and despatched to 
foreign courts, setting forth the miseries we have endured, 
and the peaceful methods which we have ineffectually used 
for redress ; declaring at the same time, that not being able, 
any longer, to live happily, or safely under the cruel dispo- 
sition of the British court, we had been driven to the neces- 
sity of breaking off all connexion with her; at the same 
time, assuring all such courts of our peaceable disposition 
towards them, and of our desire of entering into trade with 
them. Such a memorial would produce more good effects 
to this continent, than if a ship were freighted with petitions 
to Britain. 

Under our present denomination of British subjects, we 
can neither be received nor heard abroad : the custom of ali 
courts is against us, and will be so, until, by an independ- 
ence, we take rank with other nations. 

These proceedings may at first appear strange and dim* 
cult ; but like all other steps, which we have already passed 
over, will in a little time become familiar and agreeable ; 
and, until an independence is declared, the continent will 
feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unplea- 
sant business from day to day, yet knows it must be done, 
hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually 
haunted with the thoughts of its necessity. 



iPPENDIX. 



SINCE the publican wm of the first edition of this pamphlet, 
or rather, on the saint? aay on which it came out, the king's 
speech made its appearance in this city. Had the spirit of 
prophecy directed the 6irth of this production, it could not 
have brought it forth at a more seasonable juncture, or at a 
more necessary time. The bloody-mindedness of the one, 
shows the necessity of purbuing the doctrine of the other. 
Men read by way of revenge : and the speech, instead of 
terrifying, prepared a way for the manly principles of inde- 
pendence. 

Ceremony, and even silence, from whatever motives they 
may arise, have a hurtful tendency, when they give the 
least degree of countenance to base and wicked perform- 
ances ; wherefore, if this maxim be admitted, it naturally 
follows, that the king's speech, as being a piece of finished 
villany, deserved and still deserves, a general execration, 
both by the congress and the people. Y et, as the domestic 
tranquillity of a nation, depends greatly on the chastity of 
what may properly be called national manners, it .is often 
better to pass some things over in silent disdain, than to 
make use of such new methods of dislike, as might introduce 
the least innovation on that guardian of our peace and 
safety. And, perhaps, it is chiefly owing to this prudent 
delicacv, that tne king's speech hath not before now suffered 
a public execution. The speech, if it may be called one, is 
nothing better than a wilful, audacious libel against the 
truth, the common good, and the existence of mankind ; and 
is a formal and pompous method of offering up human sacri- 
^ces to the pride of tyrants. But this general massacre of 
mankind, is one of the privileges and the certain conse- 
quences of kings ; for as nature knows them not, they know 
not her, and although they are beings of our own creating, 



6 COMMON SENSE. 

they know not us, and are become the gods of their creators. 
The speech hath one good quality, winch is, that it is not 
calculated to deceive, neither can we, if we would, be de- 
ceived by it. Brutality and tyranny appear on the face of 
it. It leaves us at no loss ; and every line convinces, even 
in the moment of reading, that he who hunts the woods for 
prey, the naked and untutored Indian, is less savage than 
the king of Britain. 

Sir John Dalrymple, the putative father of a whining Jesu- 
itical piece, fallacious called, " The address of the people of 
England to the inhabitants of America," hath perhaps, from 
a vain supposition that the people here were to be frightened 
at the pomp and description of a king, given (though very 
unwisely on his part) the real character of the present one : 
" But," says this writer, " if you are inclined to pay compli- 
ments to an administration, which we do not complain of" 
(meaning the Marquis of Rockingham's at the repeal of the 
Stamp Act) " it is very unfair in you to withhold them from 
that prince, by whose NOD ALONE they were permitted to do 
any thing* This is toryism with a witness ! Here is idol- 
atry even without a mask : and he who can calmly hear 
and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to ration- 
ality ; is an apostate from the order of manhood, and ought 
to be considered as one, who hath not only given up the 
proper dignity of man, but sunk himself beneath the rank 
of animals, and contemptibly crawls through the world like 
a worm. 

However, it matters very little now, what the king of 
England either says or does; he hath wickedly broken 
through every moral and human obligation, trampled nature 
and conscience beneath his feet ; and by a steady and con- 
stitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty, procured for him- 
self an universal hatred. It is now the interest of America 
to provide for herself. She hath already a large and young 
family, whom it is more her duty to take care of, than to be 
granting away her property to support a power which is be- 
come a reproach to the names of men and Christians Ye, 
whose office it is to watch over the morals of a nation, of what- 
soever sect or denomination ye are of, as well as ye who are 
more immediately the guardians of the public liberty, if you 
wish to preserve your native country uncontaminated by 
European corruption, ye must in secret wish a separation 
but leaving the moral part to private reflection, I shall 
chiefly confine my further remarks to the following heads : 



COMMON SENSE. 47 

1st, That it is the interest of America to be separated 
from Britain. 

2d, Which is the easiest and most practicable plan, recon- 
ciliation or independence? with some occasional remarks. 

In support of the first, I could, if I judged it proper, 
produce the opinion of some of the ablest and most ex- 
perienced men on this continent : and whose sentiments on 
that head, are not yet publicly known. It is in reality a self- 
evident position : for no nation in a state of foreign depend- 
ence, limited in its commerce, and cramped and fettered in 
its legislative powers, can ever arrive at any material emi- 
nence. America doth not yet know what opulence is ; and 
although the progress which she hath made stands unparal- 
leled in the history of other nations, it is but childhood, com- 
pared with what she would be capable of arriving at, had 
she, as she ought to have, the legislative powers in her own 
hands. England is, at this time, proudly coveting what 
would do her no good were she to accomplish it ; and the 
continent hesitating on a matter which will be her final ruin 
if neglected. It is the commerce and not the conquest of 
America by which England is to be benefited, and that 
would in a .gfceac measure continue, were the countries as in- 
dependent of each other as France and Spain ; because in 
many articles neither can go to a better market. But it is 
the independence of this country of Britain, or any other, 
which is now the main and only object worthy of conten- 
tion, and which, like all other truths discovered by neces- 
sity, will appear clearer and stronger every day. 

1st, Because it will come to that one time or other. 

2d, Because the longer it is delayed, the harder it will be 
to accomplish. I have frequently amused myself both in 
public and private companies, with silently remarking the 
specious errors of those who speak without reflecting. And 
among the many which I have heard, the following seems 
the most general, viz. that if this rupture should happen 
forty or fifty years hence, instead of now, the continent 
would be more able to shake off the dependence. To which 
I replv, that our military ability at this time, arises from the 
experience gained in the last war, and which in forty or fifty 
years time would be totally extinct. The continent would 
not, by that time, have a general, or even a military officer 
left ; and we, or those who may succeed us, would be as 
ignorant of martial matters as the ancient Indians : and this 
position, closely attended to, will unanswerably prove 



48 COMMON SENSE. 

that the present time is preferable to all others. The argu- 
ment tarns thns at the conclusion of the last war, we had 
experience, but wanted numbers ; and forty or fifty years 
hence, we shall have numbers, without experience ; where- 
fore, the proper point of time, must be some particular point 
between the two extremes, in which a sufficiency of the for- 
mer remains, and a proper increase of the latter is obtained : 
and that point of time is the present time. 

The reader will pardon this digression, as it does not pro- 
perly come under the head I first set out with, and to which 
I again return by the following position, viz. 

Should affairs be patched up with Britain, and she remain 
the governing and sovereign power of America, (which, aa 
matters are now circumstanced, is giving up the point en- 
tirely) we shall deprive ourselves of trie very means of sink- 
ing the debt we have or may contract. The value of the 
back lands, which some of the provinces are clandestinely 
deprived of, by the unjust extension of the limits of Canada, 
valued only at five pounds sterling per hundred acres, 
amount to upwards of twenty-five millions Pennsylvania 
currency ; and the quit-rents at one penny sterling per acre, 
to two millions yearly. 

It is by the sale of those lands that the debt may be sunk, 
without burden to any, and the quit-rent reserved thereon, 
will always lessen, and in time, will wholly support the 
yearly expense of government. It matters not how long the 
debt is in paying, so that the lands when sold be applied to 
to the discharge of it, and for the execution of which, the 
congress for the time being, will be the continental trustees. 

I proceed now to the second head, vis. Which is the 
easiest and most practicable plan, reconciliation or indep&n- 
dence f . with some occasional remarks. 

He who takes nature for his goide, is not easily beaten 
out of his argument, and on that ground, I answer gene- 
rally That INDEPENDENCE being a SINGLE SIMPLE LINE, con- 
tained within ourselves / and reconciliation, a matter exceed- 
ingly perplexed and complicated, and in which a treacherous^ 
capricious court is to interfere, gives the answer without a 
doubt. 

The present state of America is truly alarming to every 
man who is capable of reflection. Without law, without 
government, without any other mode of power than what 
is founded on, and granted by, courtesy. Held together by 
an unexampled occurrence or sentiment, which is nevertha- 



COMMON SENSE. 49 

lees subject to change, and which every secret enemy is en- 
deavoring to dissolve. Our present condition is, legislation 
without law ; wisdom without a plan ; a constitution without 
a name ; and. what is strangely astonishing, perfect indepen- 
dence contending for dependence. The instance is without 
a precedent ; the case never existed before ; and, who can 
tell what may be the event ? The property of no man is 
secure in the present unbraced system of things. The mind 
of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object 
before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion presents. 
Nothing is criminal; there is no such thing as treason; 
wherefore, every one thinks himself at liberty to act as he 
pleases. The tories dared not have assembled offensively, 
Dad they known that their lives, by that act, were forfeited 
to the laws of the state. A line of distinction should be 
drawn between English soldiers taken in battle, and inhabi- 
tants of America taken in arms. The first are prisoners, 
but the latter traitors. The one forfeits his liberty, the other 
his head. 

Notwithstanding our wisdom, there is a visible feebleness 
in some of our proceedings which gives encouragement to 
dissentions. The Continental Belt is too loosely buckled. 
And if something is not done in time, it will be too late to 
do any thing, and we shall fall into a state, in which neither 
Reconciliation nor Independence will be practicable. The 
king and his worthless adherents are got at their old game 
of dividing the continent, and there are not wanting among 
TIS, printers, who will be busy in spreading specious false- 
hoods. The artful and hypocritical letter which appeared a 
few months ago in two of the New York papers, and like- 
wise in others, is an evidence that there are men who want 
both judgment and honesty. 

It is easy getting into holes and corners and talking of r& 
conciliation : but do such men seriously consider how diffi- 
cult the task is, and how dangerous it may prove, should 
the continent divide thereon. Do they take within their 
view, all the various orders of men whose situation and cir- 
cumstances, as well as their own, are to be considered therein? 
Do they put themselves in the place of the sufferer whose 
all is already gone, and of the soldier, who hath quitted all 
for the defence of his country ? If their ill-judged modera- 
tion be suited to their own private situations only, regardless 
of others, the event will convince them that " they are reck- 
oning without their hoet." 



5U COMMON SENSE. 

Put us, say some, on the footing we were in the year 1763 
to which I answer, the request is not now in the power of 
Britain to comply with, neither will she propose it ; but if it 
were, and even should it be granted, I ask, as a reasonable 
question, by what means is such a corrupt and faithless 
court to be kept to its engagements? Another parliament, 
nay, even the present, may hereafter repeal the obligation, 
on the pretence of its being violently obtained, or unwisely 
granted ; and, in that case, where is our redress ? No going 
to law with nations ; cannon are the barristers of crowns ; 
and the sword, not of justice, but of war, decides the suit. 
To be on the footing of 1763, it is not sufficient, that the 
laws only^ be put in the same state, but, that our circum- 
stances, likewise, be put in the same state ; our burnt and 
destroyed towns repaired, or built up, our private losses 
made good, our public debts (contracted for defence) dis- 
charged ; otherwise, we shall be millions worse than we were 
at that enviable period. Such a request, had it been com- 
plied with a year ago, would have won the heart and soul 
of the continent but now it is too late : " The Kubicon is 
passed." 

Besides, the taking up arms, merely to enforce the repeal 
of a pecuniary law, seems as unwarrantable by the divine 
law, and as repugnant to human feelings, as the taking up 
arms to enforce obedience thereto. The object, on either 
side, doth not justify the means ; for the lives of men are 
too valuable to be cast away on such trifles. It is the vio- 
lence which is done and threatened to our persons ; the de- 
struction of our property by an armed force ; the invasion 
of our country by fire and sword, which conscientiously 
qualifies the use of arms : and the instant in which such 
mode of defence became necessary, all subjection to Britain 
ought to have ceased ; and the independence of America 
should have been considered as dating its era from, and pub- 
ashed by, the first musket that was jvred against her. This 
line is a line of consistency ; neither drawn by caprice, nor 
extended by ambition ; but produced by a chain of events, 
of which the colonies were not the authors. 

I shall conclude these remarks, with the following timely 
and well-intended hints. We ought to reflect that there are 
three different ways by which an independency may here- 
after be effected ; and that one of those three, will, one day 
or other, be the fate of America, viz. By the legal voice of 
the people in congress ; by a military power ; or by a mob : 



COMMON SENSE. 51 

it uiay not always happen that our soldiers are citizens, and 
the multitude a body of reasonable men ; virtue, as I have 
already remarked, is not hereditary, neither is it perpetual. 
Should an independency be brought about by the first of 
those means, we have every opportunity and every encour- 
agement before us, to form the noblest, purest constitution 
on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin 
the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, 
hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The 
birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, per- 
haps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive 
their portion of freedom from the events of a few months. 
The reflection is awful and in this point of view, how 
trifling, how ridiculous, do the little paltry cavilings, of a few 
weak or interested men appear, when weighed against the 
business of a world. 

Should we neglect the present favorable and inviting 
period, and independence be hereafter effected by any other 
means, we must charge the consequence to ourselves, or to 
those rather, whose narrow and prejudiced souls, are habit- 
ually opposing the measure, without either inquiring or re- 
flecting. There are reasons to be giverf in support of inde- 
pendence, which men should rather privately think of, than 
be publicly told of. "We ought not now to be debating 
whether we shall be independent or not, but anxious to 
accomplish it on a firm, secure, and honorable basis, and 
uneasy rather, that it is not yet began upon. Every day 
convinces us of its necessity. Even the tories (if such things 
yet remain among us) should, of all men, be the most so- 
licitous to promote it ; for as the appointment of committees 
at first, protected them from popular rage, so, a wise and 
well-established form of government will be the only means 
of continuing it securely to them. Wherefore, if they have 
not virtue enough to be Whigs, they ought to have prudence 
enough to wish for independence. 

In short, independence is the only bond that tie and keep 
us together. We shall then see our object, and our ears 
\rill be legally shut against the schemes of an intriguing, as 
well as cruel, enemy. We shall then, too, be on a proper 
footing to treat with Britain ; for there is reason to conclude, 
that the pride of that court will be less hurt with treating 
with the American states for terms of peace, than with those, 
whom sho denominates " rebellious subjects," for terms of 
Accommodation. It is our delaying it mat encourages her 



52 COMMON SENSE. 

to hope for conquest, and our backwardness tends only to 
prolong the war. As we have, without any good effect 
therefrom, withheld our trade to obtain a redress of our 
grievances, let us now try the alternative, by independently 
redressing them ourselves, and then offering to open the 
trade. The mercantile and reasonable part of England, 
will be still with us ; because, peace with trade, is prefer- 
able to war, without it. And if this offer be not accepted, 
other courts may be applied to. 

On these grounds I rest the matter. And as no offer hath 
yet been made to refute the doctrine contained in the 
former editions of this pamphlet, it is a negative proof, that 
either the doctrine cannot be refuted, or, that the party in 
favor of it are too numerous to be opposed. Wherefore, 
instead of gazing at each other, with suspicious or doubtful 
curiosity, let each of us hold out to his neighbor the hearty 
hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like 
an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former 
dissention. Let the names of whig and tory be extinct ; and 
let none other be heard among us, than those of a good 
citizen an open and resolute friend ; and a virtuous sup- 
porter Of the EIGHTS of MANKIND, and Of the FEEE AND 
PENDENT STATES OF AMTCRTflA.. 



THE END OF COMMON BBN8B. 



THE CRISIS 



THE CRISIS. 



NUMBEK I. 

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer 
soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink 
from the service of his country; but he that stands it 
NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. 
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered ; yet we have 
this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the 
more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we 
esteem too lightly : 'tis clearness only that gives every thing 
its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon 
its goods ; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an 
article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with 
an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a 
right (not only to TAX) but " to BIND us in ATT. OASES WHAT- 
SOEVER," and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, 
then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even 
the expression is impious, for so unlimited a power can be- 
long only to God. 

Whether the independence of the continent was declared 
too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as 
an argument ; my own simple opinion is, that had it been 
eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We 
did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, 
while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if 
it were one, was all our own ; we have none to blame but 
ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet ; all that Howe has 
been doin^ for this month past, is rather a ravage than a con- 
quest, which the spirit of the Jerseys a year ago would have 
quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will 
oon recover. 



THE CRISIS. 



I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but 
mv secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Al- 
mighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or 
leave them unsupported^ to perish, who have so earnestly 
and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by 
every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither 
have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He 
has relinquished the government of the world, and given us 
up to the care of devils ; and as I do not, I cannot see on 
what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for 
help against us : a common murderer, a highwayman, or a 
house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he. 

"lis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes 
run through a country. All nations and ages have been 
subject to them: Britain has trembled like an ague at the 
report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats ; and in the 
fourteenth century the whole English army, after ravaging 
the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified 
with fear ; and this brave exploit was performed by a few 
broken forces collected and neaded by a woman, Joan of 
Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid 
to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow suffer- 
ers from ravage and ravishment ! Yet panics, in some 
cases, have their uses ; they produce as much good as hurt. 
Their duration is always short ; the mind soon grows through 
them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their 
peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sin- 
cerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, 
which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In 
fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an 
imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. 
They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them 
up in public to the world. Many a disguised tory has lately 
shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize witn 
curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware. 

As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with 
them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted 
with many circumstances, which those who live at a dis- 
tance, know but little or nothing of. Our situation there, 
was exceedingly cramped, the place beinga narrow neck of 
land between the North River and the Hackensack. Our 
force was inconsiderable, being not one fourth so great as 
Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to 
have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up and 



THE CRISIS. ft 

stood on our defence. Our ammunition, light artillery, and 
the best part of our stores, had been removed, on the appre- 
hension that Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, 
in which case fort Lee could be of no use to us ; for it must 
occur to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, 
that these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, 
and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force 
against the particular object, which such forts are raised to 
defend. Such was our situation and condition at fort Lee on 
the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer 
arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had 
landed about seven miles above : Major General Green, who 
commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under 
arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town 
of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry, six miles. 
Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hacken- 
sack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us, 
about six miles from us, and three from them. General 
Washington arrived in about three quarters of an hour, and 
marched at the head of the troops towards the bridge, which 
place I expected we should have a brush for ; however, they 
did not choose to dispute it with us, and the greatest part of 
our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry 
except some which passed at a mill on a small creek, between 
the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some 
marshy grounds up to the town of Hackensack, and there 
passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the 
wagons could contain, the rest was lost. The simple object 
was to bring off the garrison, and march them on till tney 
could be strengthened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, 
so as to be enabled to make a stand. "We staid four days at 
Newark, collected our out-posts with some of the Jersey 
militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on being 
informed that they were advancing, though our numbers 
were greatly inferior to theirs. Howe, in my little opinion, 
committed a great error in generalship in not throwing a 
body of forces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by 
which means he might have seized all our stores at Bruns- 
wick, and intercepted our march into Pennsylvania : but if 
WQ believe the power of hell to be limited, we must likewise 
believe that their agents are under some providential control. 
I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of our 
retreat to the Delaware ; suffice for the present to say, that 
both officers and men, though greatly harassed and fatigued, 



6 THE CRISIS. 

without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable conse- 
quences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and martial 
spirit. All their wishes centered in one, which was, that the 
country would turn out and help them to drive the enemy 
back. Yoltaire has remarked that king William never 
appeared to full advantage but in difficulties and in action ; 
the same remark may be made on General Washington, for 
the character fits him. There is a natural firmness in some 
minds which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when 
unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude ; and I reckon it 
among those kind of public blessings, which we do not 
immediately see, that God hath blest him with uninterrupted 
health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon 
care. 

I shall conclude this paper with some miscellaneous 
remarks on the state of our affairs ; and shall begin with 
asking the following question, Why is it that the enemy 
have left the New-England provinces, and made these middle 
ones the seat of war! The answer is easy : New-England 
is not infested with tories, and we are. I have been tender 
in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless 
arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to 
sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness. The 
period is now arrived, in which either they or we must 
change our sentiments, or one or both must fall. And what 
is a tory ? Good God ! what is he ? I should not be afraid 
to go with a hundred whigs against a thousand tories, 
were they to attempt to get into arms. Every tory is a 
coward ; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foun- 
dation of toryism ; and a man under such influence, though 
he may be cruel, never can be brave. 

But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn 
between us, let us reason the matter together : your conduct 
is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you 
has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by 
you as the American cause is injured by you. He expects 
you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with 
muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to 
him, unless you support him personally, for 'tis soldiers, and 
not tories that he wants. 

I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to 
feel, against the mean principles that are held by the tories : 
a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at 
his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or 



THE CRISIS. 7 

nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind 
as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this un- 
fatherly expression, " Well ! give me peace in my day." Not 
a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a sepa 
ration must some time or other finally take place, and a 
generous parent should have said, " If there must be trouble, 
let it be in my day, that my child may have peace / " and 
this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken 
every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so 
happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the 
wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade 
with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper 
and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God 
governs the world, that America will never be happy till 
she gets clear of foreign dominion. "Wars, without ceasing, 
will break out till that period arrives, and the continent 
must in the end be conqueror ; for though the flame of 
liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never 
expire. 

America did not, nor does not want force ; but she wanted 
a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the pur 
chase of a day, and it is no wonder that we should err at 
the first setting off. From an excess of tenderness, we 
were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause to 
the temporary defence of a well-meaning militia. A sum- 
mer's experience has now taught us better ; yet with those 
troops, while they were collected, we were able to set 
bounds to the progress of the enemy, and, thank God ! they 
are again assembling. I always consider militia as the 
best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, bui they will 
not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is probable, will 
make an attempt on this city ; should he fail on this side the 
Delaware, he is ruined : ii he succeeds, our cnuse is not 
ruined. He stakes all on his side against a pai t on ours ; 
admitting he succeeds, the consequence will be, that armies 
from both ends of the continent will march tc assist their 
Buffering Mends in the middle states ; for he cannot go 
every where, it is impossible. I consider Howe the greatest 
enemy the tories have ; he is bringing a war into their 
country, which, had it not been for him and partly for 
themselves, they had been clear of. Should he now be ex- 
pelled, 1 wish with all the devotion of a Christian, that the 
names of whig and tory may ne^er more be mentioned ; but 
should the tories give him encouragement to come, or assist- 



8 THE CRISIS. 

ance if he come, I as sincerely wish that our next year's 
arms may expel them from the continent, and the congress 
appropriate their possessions to the relief of those who have 
suffered in well doing. A single successful battle next year 
will settle the whole. America could carry on a two years' 
war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected per- 
sons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that 
this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffer- 
ing people, who, having no object in view but the good of 
all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful 
event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness ; 
eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow 
draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the 
heart that is steeled with prejudice. 

Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of 
a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet deter- 
mined to stand the matter out : I call not upon a few, but upon 
all : not on this state or that state, but on every state ; up and 
help us ; lay your shoulders to the wheel ; better have too much 
force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let 
it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, 
when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the 
city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came 
forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands 
are gone, turn out your tens of thousands ; throw not the 
burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your 
faith by your works" that God may bless you. It matters 
not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil 
or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, 
the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will 
suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now, is 
dead : the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, 
who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved 
the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can 
smile at trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and 
grow brave by reflection. "Us the business of little minds 
to shrink ; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience 
approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death, 
My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear 
as a ray of light. ISTot all the treasures of the world, so far 
as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive 
war, for I think it murder ; but if a thief breaks into my 
house, bums and destroys my property, and kills or threatens 
to kill me, or those that are in it, and to " bind me in all 



THE CRISIS. 9 

eases whatsoever?' to his absolute will, am I to suffer itt 
What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or 
a common man ; my countryman, or not my countryman ; 
whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of 
them ? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no 
difference ; neither can any just cause be assigned why we 
should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. 
Let them call me rebel, and welcome, I feel no concern from 
it ; but I should suffer the misery of devils, where I to make 
a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose 
character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, 
brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving 
mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking 
to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with 
terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America. 
There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, 
and this is one. There are persons too who see not the full 
extent of the evil which threatens them ; they solace them- 
selves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be 
merciful. Is this the madness of folly, to expect mercy from 
those who have refused to do justice ; and even mercy, where 
conquest is the object, is only a trick of war ; the cunning 
of tne fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf ; and 
we ought to guard equally against both. Howe's first ob- 
ject is partly by threats and partly by promises, to terrify 
or seduce the people to deliver up their arms and to receive 
mercy. The ministry recommended the same plan to Gage, 
and this is what the tories call making their peace, "a peace 

inTt.i 'f.Ji. 'nrump.f.J) nil. r n/ns?j>.<rstsi/nsl'j.'nsi " o/n./jji^/J. t A TkAn.no wrhip'h 



which passeth all understanding" indeed ! A peace which 
would be the immediate forerunner of a worse ruin than 
any we have yet thought of. Ye men of Pennsylvania, do 
reason upon these things ! Were the back counties to give 
up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, 
wno are all armed ; this perhaps is what some tories would 
not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up 
their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the 
back counties, who would then have it in their power to 
chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one 
state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by 
Howe's army of Britains and Hessians to preserve it from 
the anger or the rest. Mutual fear is the principal link in 
the chain of mutual love, and wo be to that state mat breaks 
the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you to bar- 
barous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fool a 



10 THE CRISIS. 

that will not see it. I dwell not upon the powers of iinagi 
nation ; I brin^ reason to your ears ; and in language a& 
plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes. 

I thank God that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. 
I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. 
While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a 
battle, and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the 
White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the 
defenceless Jerseys ; but it is great credit to us, that, with a 
handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an 
hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field 
pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to 
pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we 
were near three weeks in performing it, that the country 
might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to 
meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of 
fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the 
cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms 
through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. 
Once more we are again collected and collecting, our new 
army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and 
we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty 
thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situa- 
tion, and who will may know it. By perseverance and 
fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by 
cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of 
evils a ravaged country a depopulated city habitations 
without safety, and slavery without hope our homes turned 
into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future 
race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look 
on this picture and weep over it ! and if there yet remains 
one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it 
unlamented. COMMON SENSE. 

December 23, 1YY6. 



KUMBEK II. 

TO LORD HOWE. 

What's in the name of lord that I should fear 
To bring my grievance to the public ear f ' 

Churchill. 

UNIVERSAL empire is the prerogative of a writer. His 
concerns are with all mankind, and though he cannot com- 



THE CRISIS. 11 

their obedience, lie can assign them their duty. The 
Bermblic of Letters is more ancient than monarchy, and of 
far ni^her character in the world than the vassal court of 
Britain ; he that rebels against reason is a real rebel, but he 
that 1*1 defence of reason, rebels against tyranny, has a 
better title to " Defender of the Faith? than George the 
third. 

As * military man your lordship may hold out the sword 
of wav, and call it the " ultima ratio regum ." the last rea- 
son oj Kings ; we in return can show you the sword of 
justice, and call it, " the best scourge of tyrants." The first 
of these two may threaten, or even frighten for a while, and 
cast a sickly languor over an insulted people, but reason 
will soon recover the debauch, and restore them again to 
tranquil fortitude. Your lordship, I find, has now com- 
menced author, and published a Proclamation ; I have pub- 
lished a Crisis ; as they stand, they are the antipodes of 
each other ; both cannot rise at once, and one of them must 
desceiid ; and so quick is the revolution of things, that your 
lordship's performance, I see, has already fallen many de- 
grees irom its first place, and is now just visible on the edge 
of the political horizon. 

It is surprising to what a pitch of infatuation, blind folly 
and obstinacy will carry mankind, and your lordship s 
drowsv proclamation is a proof that it does not even quit 
them in their sleep. Perhaps you thought America too was 
taking a nap, and therefore chose, like Satan to Eve, to 
whisper the delusion softly, lest you should awaken her. 
This .continent, sir, is too extensive to sleep all at once, and 
too watchful, even in its slumbers, not to startle at the un- 
hallowed foot of an invader. You may issue your procla- 
mations, and welcome, for we have learned to " reverence 
ourselves," and scorn the insulting ruffian that employs you. 
America, for your deceased brother's sake, would gladly 
have shown you respect, and it is a new aggravation to her 
feelings, that Howe should be forgetful, and raise his sword 
against those, who at their own charge raised a monument 
to his brother. But your master has commanded, and you 
have not enough of nature left to refuse. Surely there 
must be something strangely degenerating in the love of 
monarchy, that can so completely wear a man down to an 
ingrate, and make him proud to lick the dust that kings 
have trod upon. A few more years, should you survive 
them, will bestow on you the title of " an old man ;" and in 



12 THE CRISIS. 

some hour of future reflection you may probably find the 
fitness of "Wolsey's despairing penitence " had I served my 
God as faithfully as I nave served mv king, he would not 
thus have forsaken me in my old age. 

The character you appear to us in, is truly ridiculous. 
Your friends, the tories, announced your coming, with high 
descriptions of your unlimited powers ; but your proclama- 
tion has given tnem the lie, by showing you to be a com- 
missioner without authority. Had your powers been ever 
so great, they were nothing to us, further than we pleased ; 
because we had the same right which other nations had, to 
do what we thought was best. " The UNITED STATES of 
AMERICA," will sound as pompously in the world or in his- 
tory, as " the kingdom of Great Britain ;" the character of 
General Washington will fill a page with as much lustre as 
that of Lord Howe : and the congress have as much right 
to command the Icing and parliament in London, to desist 
from legislation, as they or you have to command the con- 
gress. Only suppose how laughable such an edict would 
appear from us, and then, in that merry mood, do but turn 
the tables upon yourself, andyou will see how your procla- 
mation is received here. Having thus placed you in a 
proper position in which you may nave a full view of your 
folly, and learn to despise it, I hold up to you, for that pur- 
pose, the following quotation from your own lunarian pro- 
clamation. " And we (lord Howe and general Howe) do 
command (and in his majesty's name forsooth) all such per- 
sons as are assembled together, under the name of general 
or provincial congresses, committees, conventions or other 
associations, by whatever name or names known and distin- 
guished, to desist and cease from all such treasonable actings 
and doings." 

You introduce your proclamation by referring to your 
declarations of the 14th of July and 19th of September, 
In the last of these, you sunk yourself below the character 
of a private gentleman. That I may not seem to accuse 
you unjustly, I shall state the circumstance : by a verbal 
invitation of yours, communicated to congress by General 
Sullivan, then a prisoner on his parole, you signified your 
desire of conferring with some members of that body as pri- 
vate gentlemen. It was beneath the dignity of the Ameri- 
can congress to pay any regard to a message that at best was 
but a genteel affront, and had too much of the ministerial 
complexion of tampering with private persons ; and which 



THE CRISIS. 13 

>robably have been the case, had the gentlemen who 
were deputed on the business, possessed that kind of easy 
virtue which an English courtier is so truly distinguished by. 
Your request, however, was complied with, for honest men 
are naturally more tender of their civil than their political 
fame. The interview ended as every sensible man thought 
it would ; for your lordship knows, as well as the writer of 
the Crisis, that it is impossible for the king of England to 
promise the repeal, or even the revisal of any acts of parlia- 
ment; wherefore, on your part, you had nothing to say, 
more than to request, in the room of demanding, tne entire 
surrender of the continent ; and then, if that was complied 
with, to promise that the inhabitants should escape with 
their lives. This was the upshot of the conference. You 
informed the conferees that you were two months in solicit- 
ing these powers. "We ask, what powers? for as commis- 
sioner you have none. If you mean the power of pardon- 
ing, it is an oblique proof that your master was determined 
to sacrifice all before him : and that you were two months 
in dissuading him from his purpose. Another evidence of 
his savage obstinacy ! From your own account of the mat- 
ter we may justly draw these two conclusions : 1st, That you 
serve a monster ; and 2d, That never was a messenger sent 
on a more foolish errand than yourself. This plain language 
may perhaps sound uncouthly to an ear vitiated by courtly 
refinements ; but words were made for use, and the fault 
lies in deserving them, or the abuse in applying them un- 
fairly. 

Soon after your return to New- York, you published a very 
illiberal and unmanly handbill against the congress ; for it 
was certainly stepping out of the line of common civility, 
first to screen your national pride by soliciting an interview 
with them as private gentlemen, and in the conclusion to 
endeavor to deceive the multitude by making a handbill at- 
tack on the whole body of the congress ; you got them to- 
gether under one name, and abused them under another. 
But the king you serve, and the cause you support, afford 
you so few instances of acting the gentleman, that out of 
pity to your situation the congress pardoned the insult by 
taking no notice of it. 

You say in that handbill, " that they, the congress, disa- 
vowed every purpose for reconciliation not consonant with 
their extravagant and inadmissible claim of independence." 
Why, God bless me ! what have you to do with our inde- 



THE CEI8I8. 



pendence ? We ask no leave of yours to set it up ; we ask 
no money of yours to support it ; we can do better without 
your fleets and armies than with them ; you may soon have 
enough to do to protect yourselves without being burdened 
with us. We are very willing to be at peace with you, to 
buy of you and sell to you, and, like young beginners in 
the world, to work for our living ; therefore, why do you 
put yourselves out of cash, when we know you cannot spare 
it, and we do not desire you to run into debt ? I am willing, 
sir, that you should see your folly in every point of view I 
can place it in, and for that reason descend sometimes to 
tell you in jest what I wish you to see in earnest. But to 
be more serious with you, why do you say, " their indepen- 
dence ?" To set you right, sir, we tell you, that the inde- 
pendency is ours, not theirs. The congress were authorised 
by every state on the continent to publish it to all the 
world, and in so doing are not to be considered as the in- 
ventors, but only as the heralds that proclaimed it, or the 
office from whicn the sense of the people received a legal 
form ; and it was as much as any or all their heads were 
worth, to have treated with you on the subject of submis- 
sion under any name whatever. But we know the men in 
whom we have trusted ; can England say the same of her 
parliament ? 

I come now more particularly to your proclamation of 
the 30th of November last. Had you gained an entire 
conquest over all the armies of America, and then put forth 
a proclamation, offering (what you call) mercy, your conduct 
would have had some specious show of humanity ; but to 
creep by surprise into a province, and there endeavor to ter- 
rify and seduce the inhabitants from their just allegiance to 
the rest by promises, which you neither meant, nor were 
able to fulfil, is both cruel and unmanly : cruel in its effects ; 
because, unless you can keep all the ground you have 
marched over, how are you, in the words of your proclama- 
tion, to secure to your proselytes " the enjoyment of their 
property ?" WTiat is to become either of your new adopted 
subjects, or your old friends, the tories, in Burlington, Bor- 
dentown, Trenton, Mountholly, and many other places, 
where you proudly lorded it for a few days, and then fled 
with the precipitation of a pursued thief? What, I say, IB 
to become of those wretches ? What is to become of tnose 
who went over to you from this city and state ? What more 
can you say to them than " shift for yourselves ?" Or 



THE CRISIS. 15 

more can they hope for than to wander like vagabonds over 
the face of the earth ? You may now tell them to take their 
leave of America, and all that once was theirs. Recommend 
them, for consolation, to your master's court ; there perhaps 
they may make a shift to live on the scraps of some dangling 
parasite, and choose companions among thousands like 
themselves. A traitor is the foulest fiend on earth. 

In a political sense we ought to thank you for thus 
bequeathing estates to the continent ; we shall soon, at this 
rate, be able to carry on a war without expense, and grow 
rich by the ill policyof Lord Howe, and the generous defec- 
tion of the tones. Had you set your foot into this city, you 
would have bestowed estates upon us which we never thought 
of, by bringing forth traitors we were unwilling to suspect. 
But these men, you'll say, "are his majesty's most faithful 
subjects ;" let that honor, then, be all their fortune, and let 
his majesty take them to himself. 

I am now thoroughly disgusted with them ; they live in 
ungrateful ease, and bend their whole minds to mischief. It 
seems as if god had given them over to a spirit of infidelity, 
and that they are open to conviction in no other line but 
that of punishment. It is time to have done with tarring, 
feathering, carting, and taking securities for their future 
good behaviour ; every sensible man must feel a conscious 
shame at seeing a poor fellow hawked for a show about the 
streets, when it is known he is only the tool of some princi- 
pal villain, biassed into his offence by the force of false rea- 
soning, or bribed thereto, through sad necessity. We 
dishonor ourselves by attacking such trifling characters 
while greater ones are suffered to escape ; 'tis our duty to 
find them out, and their proper punishment would be tc 
exile them from the continent for ever. The circle of then: 
is not so great as some imagine ; the influence of a few have 
tainted many who are not naturally corrupt. A continua. 
circulation of lies among those who are not much in the 
way of hearing them contradicted, will in time pass for 
truth ; and the crime lies not in the believer but the inven- 
tor. I am not for declaring war with every man that appears 
not so warm as myself : difference of constitution, temper, 
habit of speaking, and many other things, will go a great 
way in fixing the outward character of a man, yet simple 
honesty may remain at bottom. Some men have naturally 
a military turn, and can brave hardships and the risk of life 
with a cheerful face ; others have not ; no slavery appears 



16 THE CRISIS. 

to them so great as the fatigue of arms, and no terror BO 
powerful as that of personal danger. What can we say ? 
We cannot alter nature, neither ought we to punish the son 
"because the father begot him in a cowardly mood. How- 
ever, I believe most men have more courage than they know 
of, and that a little at first is enough to begin with. 1 fcnew 
the time when I thought that the whistling of a cannon ball 
would have frightened me almost to death : but I have since 
tried it, and find that I can stand it with as little discompo- 
sure, and, I believe, with a much easier conscience than 
your lordship. The same dread would return to me again 
were I in your situation, for my solemn belief of your cause 
is, that it is hellish and damnable, and, under that convic- 
tion, every thinking man's heart must fail him. 

From a concern that a good cause should be dishonored 
by the least disunion among us, I said in my former paper. 
No. 1, " That should the enemy now be expelled, I wish 
with all the sincerity of a Christian, that the names of whig 
and tory might never more be mentioned," but there is a knot 
of men among us of such a venomous cast, that they will 
not admit even one's good wishes to act in their favor. In- 
stead of rejoicing that heaven had, as it were, providentially 
preserved this city from plunder and destruction, by deliv- 
ering so great a part of the enemy into our hands with so 
little effusion of blood, they stubbornly affected to disbelieve 
it till within an hour, nay, half an hour, of the prisoners 
arriving ; and the Quakers put forth a testimony, dated the 
20th of December, signed " John Pemberton," declaring 
their attachment to the British government.* Thes^ men 
are continually harping on the great sin of our bearing arms, 
but the king of Britain may lay waste the world in blood 
and famine, and they, poor fallen souls, have nothing to say. 

In some future paper, I intend to distinguish between the 
different kind of persons who have been denominated tories ; 
for this I am clear in, that all are not so who have been 
called so, nor all men whigs who were once thought &o ; and 

* I have ever been careful of charging offences upon whole societies of men, 
but as the paper referred to is put forth by an unknown set of men, who claim 
to themselves the right of representing the whole; and while the whole soci- 
ety of Quakers admit its validity by a silent acknowledgment, it is impossible 
that any distinction can be made by the public : and the more so, because 
the New-York paper of the 30th of December, printed by permission of our 
enemies, says that " the Quakers begin to speak openly of their attachment 
to the British constitution. We are certain that we have many frienJs among 
them, and wish to know them. 



THE CRISIS. 17 

a& I mean not to conceal the name of any true friend when 
there shall be occasion to mention him, neither will I that 
of an enemy, who ought to be known, let his rank, station 
or religion be what it may. Much pains have been taken 
by some to set your lordship's private character in an 
amiable light, but as it has cniefly been done by men who 
know nothing about you, and who are no ways remarkable 
for their attachment to us, we have no just authority for 
believing it. George the third has imposed upon us by the 
same arts, but time, at length, has done him justice, and the 
same fate may probably attend your lordship. Your avowed 
purpose here, is to kill, conquer, plunder, pardon and enslave ; 
and the ravages of your army though the Jerseys have been 
marked with as much barbarism as if you had openly pro- 
fessed yourself the prince of ruffians ; not even tne appear 
ance of humanity has been preserved either on the march or 
the retreat of your troops ; no general order that I could 
ever learn, has ever been issued to prevent or even forbid 
your troops from robbery, wherever they came, and the only 
instance of justice, if it can be called such, which has dis- 
tinguished you for impartiality, is, that you treated and 
plundered all alike; what could not be carried away has 
been destroyed, and mahogany furniture has been deliber- 
ately laid on fire for fuel, rather than that men should be 
fatigued with cutting wood.* There was a time when the 
whigs confided much in your supposed candor, and the 
tories rested themselves in your favor ; the experiments have 
now been made, and failed ; in every town, nay, every 
cottage, in the Jerseys, where your arms have been, is a 
testimony against you. How you mav rest under the sacri- 
fice of character I know not ; but this I know, that you 
sleep and rise with the daily curses of thousands upon you ; 
perhaps the misery which the tories have suffered by your 
proffered mercy, may give them some claim to their country's 
pity, and be in the end the best favor you could show them, 
in a folio general-order book belonging to Col. Rhol's 
battalion, taken at Trenton, and now in me possession of the 
council of safety for this state, the following barbarous order 
is frequently repeated, " His excellency the c&mmander-inr 

* As some people may doubt the truth of such wanton destruction, I think 
it necessary to inform them, that one of the people called Quakers, who livea 
at Trenton, gave me this information, at the house of Mr. Michael Hutchinson 
(one of the same profession,) who lives near Trenton ferry on the Pennsylvania 
tide, Mr. Hutchinson being present. 



18 THE CRISIS. 

chief orders, that all inhabitants who shall be found with 
arms, not having an officer with them, shall be immediately 
taken and hnng up." How many you may thus have pri- 
vately sacrificed, we know not, and the account can only be 
settled in another world. Your treatment of prisoners, in 
order to distress them to enlist in your infernal service, is 
not to be equalled by any instance in Europe. Yet this is the 
humane lord Howe and his brother, whom the tories and 
their three-quarter kindred, the Quakers, or some of them 
at least, have been holding up for patterns of justice and 
mercy I 

A bad cause will ever be supported by bad means and bad 
men ; and whoever will be at the pains of examining strictly 
into things, will find that one and the same spirit of oppres- 
sion and impiety, more or less, governs through your whole 
party in both countries: not many days ago I accidentally 
fell in company with a person of this city noted for espousing 
your cause, and on my remarking to him, " that it appeared 
clear to me, by the late providential turn of affairs, that 
God Almighty was visibly on our side," he replied, '' We 
care nothing for that, you may have Him, and welcome ; if 
we have but enough of the devil on our side, we shall do." 
However carelessly this might be spoken, matters not, 'tis 
still the insensible principle that directs all your conduct, and 
will at last most assuredly deceive and ruin you. 

If ever a nation was mad or foolish, blind to its own in- 
terest and bent on its own destruction, it is Britain. There 
are such things as national sins, and though the punish- 
ment of individuals may be reserved to another world, 
national punishment can only be inflicted in this world. 
Britain, as a nation, is, in my inmost belief, the greatest 
and most ungrateful offender against God on the face of the 
whole earth ; blessed with all the commerce she could have 
wished for, and furnished, by a vast extension of dominion, 
with the means of civilizing both the eastern and western 
world, she has made no otner use of both than proudly to 
idolize her own " thunder," and rip up the bowels of whole 
countries for what she could get : Like Alexander, she has 
made war her sport, and inflicted misery for prodigality's 
sake. The blood of India is not yet repaid, nor the wretched- 
ness of Africa, yet requited. Of late she has enlarged her 
list of national cruelties, by her butcherly destruction of th< 
Caribbs of St. Vincent's, and returning an answer by tho 
sword to the meek prayer for " Peace, liberty and safety* 



THE CRISIS. IJc 

These are serious things, and whatever a foolish tyrant, a de- 
bauched court, a trafficking legislature, or a blinded people 
may think, the national account with heaven must some 
day or other be settled ; all countries have sooner or later 
been called to their reckoning ; the proudest empires have 
sunk when the balance was struck ; and Britain, like an in- 
dividual penitent must undergo her day of sorrow, and the 
sooner it happens to her the better : as I wish it 6ver, I 
wish it to come, but withal wish that it may be as light as 
possible. 

Perhaps your lordship has no taste for serious things ; by 
your connexions with England I should suppose not : there- 
fore I shall drop this part of the subject, and take it up in a 
line in which you will better understand me. 

By what means, may I ask, do you expect to conquer 
America ? If you could not affect it in the summer, when 
our army was less than yours, nor in the winter, when we 
had none, how are you to do it ? In point of generalship 
you have been outwitted, and in point of fortitude outdone ; 
your advantages turn out to your loss, and show us that it 
is in our power to ruin you by gifts : like a game of drafts, 
we can move out of one square to let you come in, in order 
that we may afterwards take two or three for one : and as we 
can always keep a double corner for ourselves, we can always 
prevent a total defeat. You cannot be so insensible, as not 
to see that we have two to one the advantage of you, be- 
cause we conquer by a drawn game, and you lose by it. 
Burgoyne might have taught your lordship this knowledge ; 
he has been long a student in the doctrine of chances. 

I have no other idea of conquering countries than by sub- 
duing the armies which defend them : have you done this, 
or can you do it ? If you have not, it would be civil in you 
to let your proclamations alone for the present ; otherwise, 
you will ruin more tories by your grace and favor, than you 
will whigs by your arms. 

Were you to obtain possession of this city, you would not 
know what to do with it more than to plunder it. To hold 
it in the manner you hold New- York, would be an addi- 
tional dead weight upon your hands : and if a general con- 
quest is your object, you had better be without the city 
tnan with it. TV hen you have defeated all our armies, the 
cities will fall into your hands of themselves ; but to creep 
into them in the manner you got into Princeton, Trenton, 
etc., ig like robbing an orchard in the night before the fruit 



20 THE CK6I8. 

be ripe, and running away in the morning. Tour experi- 
ment in the Jerseys is sufficient to teach you that you have 
something more to do than barely to get into other people's 
houses ; and your new converts, to whom you promised all 
manner of protection, and seduced into new guilt by par- 
doning them from their former virtues, must begin to have 
a very contemptible opinion both of your power and your 
policy. Your authority in the Jerseys is now reduced to 
the small circle which your army occupies, and your pro- 
clamation is no where else seen unless it be to be laughed at. 
The mighty subduers of the continent have retreated into a 
nut-shell, and the proud forgivers of our sins are fled from 
those they came to pardon : and all this at a time when 
they were despatching vessel after vessel to England with 
the great news of every day. In short, you have managed 
your Jersey expedition so very dexterously, that the dead 
only are conquerors, because none will dispute the ground 
with them. 

In all the wars which you have formerly been concerned 
in, you had only armies to contend with ; in this case you 
have both an army and a country to combat with. In for- 
mer wars, the countries followed the fate of their capitals ; 
Canada fell with Quebec, and Minorca with Port Mahon or 
St. Phillips ; by subduing those, the conquerors opened a 
way into, and became masters of the .country : here it is 
otherwise ; if you get possession of a city here, you are 
obliged to shut yourselves up in it, and can make no other 
use of it, than to spend your country's money in. This is 
all the advantage you have drawn from New-York ; and 
you would draw less from Philadelphia, because it requires 
more force to keep it, and is much further from the sea. A 
pretty figure you and the tories would cut in this city, with 
a river full of ice, and a town full of fire ; for the immediate 
consequence of your getting here would be, that you would 
be cannonaded out again, and the tories be obliged to make 
good the damage ; and this sooner or later will be the fate 
of New- York. 

I wish to see the city saved, not so much from military as 
from natural motives. "Tis the hiding place of women and 
children, and lord Howe's proper business is with our armies. 
When I put all the circumstances together which ought to 
be taken, I laugh at your notion of conquering America. 
Because you lived in a little country, where an army might 
run over the whole in a few days, and where a single com- 



THE CRI8I8. 21 

pny of soldiers might put a multitude to the rout, you 
expected to find it the same here. It is plain that you 
brought over with you all the narrow notions you were bred 
up with, and imagined that a proclamation in the king's 
name was to do great things ; but Englishmen always travel 
for knowledge, and your lordship, I hope, will return, if you 
return at all, much wiser than you came. 

"We may be surprised by events we did not expect, and in 
that interval of recollection you may gain some temporary 
advantage : such was the case a few weeks ago, but we soon 
ripen again into reason, collect our strength, and while you 
are preparing for a triumph, we come upon you with a 
defeat. Such it has been, and such it would be were you to 
try it a hundred times over. Were you to garrison the 
places you might march over, in order to secure their sub- 
jection, (for remember you can do it by no other means,) 
your army would be like a stream of water running to 
nothing. By the time you extended from New- York to 
Virginia, you would be reduced to a string of drops not 
capable of hanging together ; while we, by retreating from 
state to state, like a river turning back upon itself, would 
acquire strength in the same proportion as you lost it, and 
in the end be capable of overwhelming you. The country, 
in the mean time, would suffer, but it is a day of suffering, 
and we ought to expect it. What we contend for is worthy 
the affliction we may go through. If we get but bread to 
eat, and any kind of raiment to put on, we ought not only 
to be contented, but thankful. More than that we ought 
not to look for, and less than that heaven has not yet suffered 
us to want. He that would sell his birth right for a little 
salt, is as worthless as he who sold it for porridge without 
salt. And he that would part with it for a gay coat, or a 
plain coat, ought for ever to be a slave in buff. What 
are salt, sugar and finery, to the inestimable blessings of 
" Liberty and safety !" Or what are the inconveniences of 
a few months to the tributary bondage of ages ? The mean- 
est peasant in America, blest with these sentiments, is a 
happy man compared with a New- York tory ; he can eat 
his morsel without repining, and when he has done, can 
sweeten it with a repast of wholesome air; he can take 
his child by the hand and bless it, without feeling the con- 
scious shame of neglecting a parent's duty. 

In publishing these remarks I have several objects in 
view. 



22 THE CRISIS. 

On your part they are to expose the folly of your pre- 
tended authority as a commissioner ; the wickedness of your 
cause in general ; and the impossibility of your conquering 
us at any rate. On the part of the public, my intention is, 
to show them their true and solid interest ; to encourage 
them to their own good, to remove the fears and falsities 
which bad men have spread, and weak men have encouraged ; 
and to excite in all men a love for union, and a cheerfulness 
for duty. 

I shall submit one more case to you respecting your con- 
quest of this country, and then proceed to new observations. 

Suppose our armies in every part of this continent were 
immediately to disperse, every man to his home, or where 
else he might be safe, and engage to re-assemble again on a 
certain future day ; it is clear that you would then have no 
army to contend with, yet you would be as much at a loss 
in that case as you are now ; you would be afraid to send 
your troops in parties over the continent, either to disarm or 
prevent us from assembling, lest they should not return ; and 
while you kept them together, having no army of ours to 
dispute with, you could not call it a conquest ; you might 
furnish out a pompous page in the London Gazette or a 
New- York paper, but wnen we returned at the appointed 
time, you would have the same work to do that you had at 
first. 

It has been the folly of Britain to suppose herself more 
powerful than she really is, and by that means has arrogated 
to herself a rank in the world she is not entitled to : for 
more than this century past she has not been able to carry 
on a war without foreign assistance. In Marlborough's 
campaigns, and from that day to this, the number of Ger- 
man troops and officers assisting her have been about equal 
with her own ; ten thousand Hessians were sent to England 
last war to protect her from a French invasion ; and she 
would have cut but a poor figure in her Canadian and West- 
Indian expeditions, had not America been lavish both of 
her money and men to help her along. The only instance 
in which she was engaged singly, that I can recollect, was 
against the rebellion in Scotland, in the years 1Y45 and 1746, 
and in that, out of three battles, she was twice beaten, till 
by thus reducing thoir numbers, (as we shall yours,) and 
taking a- supply ship that was coming to Scotland with 
clothes, arms and money, (as we have often done,) she was 
at last enabled to defeat them. England wae never famous 



I 

THE CKI8I8. 



oy land ; her officers have generally been suspected of covr- 
ardiee, have more of the air of a dancing-master than a sol- 
dier, and by the samples which we have taken prisoners, we 
give the preference to ourselves. Her strength, of late, has 
Iain in her extravagance ; bnt as her finances and credit are 
now low, her sinews in that line begin to fail fast. As a 
nation she is the poorest in Europe ; for were the whole 
kingdom, and all that is in it, to be put up for sale like the 
estate of a bankrupt, it would not fetch as much as she owes ; 
yet this thoughtless wretch must go to war, and with the 
avowed design, too, of making us beasts of burden, to sup- 
port her in not and debauchery, and to assist her afterwards 
in distressing those nations who are now our best friends. 
This ingratitude may suit a tory, or the unchristian peevish- 
ness of a fallen Quaker, but none else. 

Tis the unhappy temper of the English to be pleased with 
any war, right or wrong, be it but successful ; but they soon 
grow discontented with ill-fortune, and it is an even cnance 
that they are as clamorous for peace next summer, a* the 
king and his ministers were for war last winter. In this na- 
tural view of things, your lordship stands in a very critical 
situation : your whole character is now staked upon your 
laurels ; if they wither, you wither with them ; if they 
flourish, you cannot live long to look at them ; and at any 
rate, the black account hereafter is not far off. What lately 
appeared to us misfortunes, were only blessings in disguise ; 
and the seeming, advantages on your side have turned out 
to our profit. Even our loss of this city, as far as we can see, 
might be a principal gain to us : the more surface you spread 
over, the thinner you will be, ard the easier wiped away ; 
and our consolation under that apparent disaster would be, 
that the estates of the tories would become securities for the 
repairs. In short, there is no old ground we can fail upon, 
but some new foundation rises again to support us. " We 
have put, sir, our hands to the plough, and cursed be he that 
looketh back." 

Tour king, in his speech to parliament last spring, de- 
clared, " That he had no doubt but the great force they had 
enabled him to send to America, would effectually reduce 
the rebellious colonies." It has not, neither can it ; but it 
has done just enough to lay the foundation of its own next 
year's ruin. You are sensible that you left England in a 
divided, distracted state of politics, and, by the command 
you had there, you became tne principal prop of the court 



> 

24 THE CRISIS. 

party ; their fortunes rest on yours ; by a single express you 
can fix their value with the public, and the degree to which 
their spirits shall rise or fall ; they are in your hands as 
stock, and you have the secret of the alley with you. Thus 
situated and connected, you become the unintentional me- 
chanical instrument of your own and their overthrow. The 
king and his ministers put conquest out of doubt, and the 
credit of both depended on the proof. To support them in 
the interim, it was necessary that you should make the most 
of every thing, and we can tell by Hugh Game's New- York 
paper what the complexion of the London Gazette is. With 
such a list of victories the nation cannot expect you will ask 
new supplies ; and to confess your want of them, would give 
the lie to your triumphs, and impeach the king and his 
ministers of treasonable deception. If you make the neces- 
sary demand at home, your party sinks ; if you make it not, 
you sink yourself; to ask it now is too late, and to ask it 
before was too soon, and unless it arrive quickly will be of 
no use. In short, the part you have to act, cannot be acted ; 
and I am fully persuaded that all you ha ve to trust to is, to 
do the best you can with what force you have got, or little 
more. Though we have greatly exceeded you in point of 
generalship and bravery of men, yet, as a people, we have 
not entered into the full soul of enterprise ; for I, who know 
England and the disposition of the people well, am confi- 
dent, that it is easier for us to effect a revolution there, than 
you a conquest here ; a few thousand men landed in Eng- 
land with the declared design of deposing the present king, 
bringing his ministers to trial, and setting up the Duke of 
Gloucester in his stead, would assuredly carry their point, 
while you were grovelling here ignorant of the matter. As 
I send all my papers to England, this, like Common Sense, 
will find its way there ; and though it may put one party 
on their guard, it will inform the other, and the nation in 
general, of our design to help them. 

Thus far, sir, I have endeavored to give you a picture of 
present affairs : you may draw from it what conclusions you 
please. I wish as well to the true prosperity of England as 
you can, but I consider INDEPENDENCE Americans natural 
right and interest, and never could see any real disservice it 
would be to Britain. If an English merchant receives an 
order, and is paid for it, it signifies nothing to him who gov- 
erns the country. This is my creed of politics. If I have 
any where expressed myself over-warmly, 'tis from a fixed, 



THE CRISIS. 25 

unmoveable hatred 1 have, and ever had, to cruel men and 
jruel measures. I have likewise an aversion to monarchy, 
AS being too debasing to the dignity of man ; but I never 
troubled others with my notions tin very lately, nor ever 
published a syllable in England in my lite. "Wnat I write 
is pure nature, and my pen and my soul have ever gone 
together. My writings I have always given away, reserv- 
ing only the expense of printing and paper, and sometimes 
not even that. I never courted either fame or interest, and 
my manner of life, to those who know it, will justify what 
I say. My study is to be useful, and if your lordship loves 
mankind as well as I do, you would, seeing you cannot con- 
quer us, cast about and lend your hand towards accomplish- 
ing a peace. Our independence, with God's blessing, we 
wm maintain against all the world ; but as we wish to avoid 
evil ourselves, we wish not to inflict it on others. I am never 
over-inquisitive into the secrets of the cabinet, but I have 
some notion, that if you neglect the present opportunity, 
that it will not be in our power to make a separate peace 
with you afterwards ; for whatever treaties or alliances we 
form, we shall most faithfully abide by ; wherefore you may 
be deceived if you think you can make it with us at any 
time. A lasting, independent peace is my wish, end and 
aim ; and to accomplish that, " I pray God the Americans 
may never be defeated, and I trust while they have good 
officers, and are well commanded" and willing to be com 
manded, " that they NEVEB WILL BE." 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 18, 1777. 



1OTMBEK HL 

IN the progress of politics, as in the common occurrences 
of life, we are not only apt to forget the ground we have 
travelled over, but frequently neglect to gather up expe- 
rience as we go. We expena, if I may so say, the know- 
*edge of every day on the circumstances that produce it, and 
journey on in search of new matter and new refinements : 
but as it is pleasant and /sometimes useful to look back, even 
to the first periods of infancy, and trace the turns and wind- 
ings through which we have passed, so we may likewise 



THE CRISIS. 



derive many advantages by halting a while in our 
career, and taking a review of the wondrous complicated 
labyrinth of little more than yesterday. 

Truly may we say, that never did men grow old in so 
short a time ! "We nave crowded the business of an age into 
the compass of a few months, and have been driven through 
such a rapid succession of things, that for the want of leisure 
to think, we unavoidably wasted knowledge as we came, and 
have left nearly as much behind us as we brought with us : but 
the road is yet rich with the fragments, and, before we fully 
lose sight of them, will repay us for the trouble of stopping 
to pick them up. 

W ere a man to be totally deprived of memory, he would 
be incapable of forming any just opinion ; every thing about 
him would seem a chaos ; he would have even his own his- 
tory to ask from every one ; and by not knowing how the 
world went in his absence, he would be at a loss to know 
how it ought to go on when he recovered, or rather, returned 
to it again. In like manner, though in a less degree, a too 
great inattention to past occurrences retards and bewilders 
oui judgment in every thing ; while, on the contrary, by 
comparing what is past with what is present, we frequently 
hit on the true character of both, and become wise with 
very little trouble. It is a kind of counter-march, by which 
we get into the rear of time, and mark the movements and 
meaning of things as we make our return. There are cer- 
tain circumstances, which, at the time of their happening, 
are a kind of riddles, and as every riddle is to be followed 
by its answer, so those kind of circumstances will be fol- 
lowed by their events, and those events are always the true 
solution. A considerable space of time may lapse between, 
and unless we continue our observations from the one to the 
other, the harmony of them will pass away unnoticed : but 
the misfortune is, that partly from the pressing necessity of 
some instant things, and partly from the impatience of our 
own tempers, we are frequently in such a hurry to make out 
the meaning of every thing as fast as it happens, that we 
thereby never truly understand it ; and not only start new 
difficulties to ourselves by so doing, but, as it were, embarrass 
Providence in her good designs. 

I have been civil in stating this fault on a large scale, for, 
as it now stands, it dues not appear to be levelled against 
any particular set of men ; but were it to be refined a little 
further, it might afterwards be applied to the tories with a 



THE CRISIS. 27 

degree of striking propriety : those men have been remark- 
able for drawing sudden conclusions from single facts. The 
least apparent mishap on our side, or the least seeming advan- 
tage on the part of the enemy, have determined with them 
the fate of a whole campaign. By this hasty judgment 
they have converted a retreat into a defeat ; mistook gene- 
ralship for error; while every little advantage purposely 
given the enemy, either to weaken their strength ^by divid- 
ing it, embarrass their councils by multiplying their objects, 
or to secure a greater post by the surrender of a less, has 
been instantly magnified into a conquest. Thus, by quarter- 
ing ill policy upon ill principles, they have frequently pro- 
moted the cause they have designed to injure, and injured 
that which they intended to promote. It is probable the 
campaign may open before this number comes from the 
press. The enemy have long lain idle, and amused them- 
selves with carrying on the war by proclamations only. 
AVTiile they continue their delay our strength increases, and 
were they to move to action now, it is a circumstantial 
proof that they have no reinforcement coming ; wherefore, 
in either case, the comparative advantage will be ours. 
Like a wounded, disabled whale, they want only tune and 
room to die in ; and though in the agony of their exit, it 
may be unsafe to live within the flapping of their tail, yet 
every hour shortens their date, and lessens their power of 
miscnief. If any thing happens while this number is in the 
press, it will afford me a subject for the last pages of it. 
At present I am tired of waiting ; and as neither the enemy, 
nor the state of politics have yet produced any thing new, I 
am thereby left in the field of general matter, undirected by 
any striking or particular object. This Crisis, therefore, will 
be made up rather of variety than novelty, and consist more 
of things useful than things wonderful. 

The success of the cause, the union of the people, and 
the means of supporting and securing both, are points 
which cannot be too much attended to. He who doubts of 
the former is a desponding coward, and he who wilfully 
disturbs the latter is a traitor. Their characters are easily 
fixed, and under these short descriptions I leave them foi 
the present. 

One of the greatest degrees of sentimental union which 
America ever knew, was m denying the right of the British 
parliament " to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever." 
The declaration is, in its form, an almighty one, and is the 



28 THE CRISIS 

loftiest stretch of arbitrary power that ever one set of men, 
or one country claimed ov er another. Taxation was nothing 
more than the putting the declared right into practice ; and 
this failing, recourse was had to arms, as a means to estab- 
lish both the right and the practice, or to answer a worse 
purpose, which will be mentioned in the course of this num- 
ber. And in order to repay themselves the expense of an 
army, and to profit by their own injustice, the colonies 
were, by another law, declared to be in a state of actual re- 
bellion, and of consequence all property therein would fall 
to the conquerors. 

The colonies, on their part, first, denied the right ; se- 
condly, they suspended the use of taxable articles, and pe- 
titioned against the practice of taxation : and these failing, 
they, thirdly, defended their property by force, as soon as it 
was forcibly invaded, and in answer to the declaration of 
rebellion and non-protection, published their declaration of 
independence and right of self-protection. 

These, in a few words, are the different stages of the 
quarrel; and the parts are so intimately and necessarily 
connected with each other as to admit of no separation. A 
person, to use a trite phrase, must be a whig or a tory in the 
lump. His feelings, as a man, may be wounded ; his 
charity, as a Christian, may be moved ; but his political 
principles must go through all the cases on one side or the 
other. He cannot be a whig in this stage, and a tory in 
that. If he says he is against the united independence of 
the continent, he is to all intents and purposes against her 
in all the rest ; because this last comprehends the whole. 
And he may just ao well say, that Britain was right in de- 
claring us rebels ; right in taxing us ; and right in declaring 
her " right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever" It 
signifies nothing what neutral ground, of his own creating, 
he may skulk upon for shelter, for the quarrel in no stage 
of it hath afforded any such ground ; and either we or Bri- 
tain are absolutely right or absolutely wrong through the 
whole. 

Britain, like a gamester nearly ruined, hath now put all 
her losses into one bet, and is playing a desperate game for 
the total. If she wins it, she wins from me my Hfe ; she 
wins the continent as the forfeited property of rebels ; the 
right of taxing those that are left as reducea subjects ; and 
the power of binding them slaves ; and the single die which 
determines this unparalleled event is, whether \ve support 



THE CRISIS. 29 

our independence or she overturn it. This is coming to the 
point at once. Here is the touchstone to try men by. He 
that is not a supporter of the independent states of America, 
in the same decree that Ms religious and political principles 
would suffer him to support the government of any other 
country, of which he called himself a subject, is, in the 
American sense of the word, A TORY ; and the instant that 
he endeavors to bring his toryism into practice, he 'becomes A 
TRAITOR. The first can only be detected by a general test, 
and the law hath already provided for the latter. 

It is unnatural and impolitic to admit men who would 
root up our independence to have any share in our legisla- 
tion, either as electors or representatives ; because the sup- 
port of our independence rests, in a great measure, on the 
vigor and purity of our public bodies. Would Britain, even 
in time of peace, much less in war, suffer an election to be 
carried by men who professed themselves to be not her sub- 
jects, or allow such to sit in parliament? Certainly not. 

But there are a certain species of tories with whom con- 
science or principle hath nothing to do, and who are so 
from avarice only. Some of the first fortunes on the con- 
tinent, on the part of the whigs, are staked on the issue of 
our present measures. And shall disaffection only be re- 
warded with security ? Can any thing be a greater induce- 
ment to a miserly man, than the hope of making his mam- 
mon safe ? And though the scheme be fraught with every 
character of folly, yet, so long as he supposes, that by doing 
nothing materially criminal against America on one part, 
and by expressing his private disapprobation against inde- 
pendence, as palliative with the enemy on the other part, 
he stands in a safe line between both ; while, I say, this 
ground be suffered to remain, craft, and the spirit of avarice, 
will point it out, and men will not be wanting to fill up this 
most contemptible of all characters. 

These men, ashamed to own the sordid cause from whence 
their disaffection springs, add thereby meanness to mean- 
ness, by endeavoring to shelter themselves under the mask 
of hypocrisy ; that is, they had rather be thought to be tories 
from soms. kind of principle, than tories by having no prin- 
ciples at all. But till such time as they can show some real 
reason, natural, political, or conscientious, on which their 
objections to independence are founded, we are not obliged 
to give them credit for being tories of the first stamp, but 
must set them dowm as tories of the last. 



30 THE CRISIS. 

In the second mimber of the Crisis, I endeavored to show 
the impossibility of the enemy's making any conquest of 
America, that nothing was wanting on our part but patience 
and perseverance, and that, with these virtues, our success, 
as far as human speculation could discern, seemed as certain 
as fate. But as there are many among us, who, influenced by 
others, have regularly gone back from the principles they 
once held, in proportion as we have gone forward ; and as 
it is the unfortunate lot of many a good man to live within 
the neighborhood of disaffected ones ; I shall, therefore, for 
the sake of confirming the one and recovering the other, 
endeavor, in the space of a page or two, to go over some of 
the leading principles in support of independence. It is a 
much pleasanter task to prevent vice than to punish it, and, 
however our tempers may be gratified by resentment, or our 
national expenses be eased by forfeited estates, harmony and 
friendship is, nevertheless, the happiest condition a country 
can be blest with. 

The principal arguments in support of independence may 
be comprehended under the four following heads. 

1st, The natural right of the continent to independence. 

2d, Her interest in being independent. 

3d, The necessity, and 

4th, The moral advantages arising therefrom. 

1st, The natural right of the continent to independence, is 
a point which never yet was called in question. It will not 
even admit of a debate. To deny such a right, would be a 
kind of atheism against nature : and the best answer to such 
an objection would be, " The fool hath said in his heart 
there ^s no God." 

2d, The interest of the continent in being independent is 
a point as clearly right as the former. America, by her own 
internal industry, and unknown to all the powers of Europe, 
was, at the beginning of the dispute, arrived at a pitch of 
greatness, trade and population, beyond which it was the 
interest of Britain not to suffer her to pass, lest she should 
grow too powerful to be kept subordinate. She began to 
view this country with the same uneasy malicious eye, with 
which a covetous guardian would view his ward, whose 
estate he had been enriching himself by for twenty years, 
and saw him just arriving at manhood. And America owes 
no more to Britain for her present maturity, than the ward 
would to the guardian for being twenty-one years of age. 
That America hath flourished at the time she was under the 



THE CBI8I8. 31 

government of Britain, is true ; but there is every natural 
reason to believe, that had she been an independent country 
from the first settlement thereof, uncontrolled by any foreign 
power, free to make her own laws, regulate and encourage 
her own commerce, she had by this time been of much 
greater worth than now. The case is simply this : the first 
settlers in the different colonies were left to shift for them- 
selves, unnoticed and unsupported by any European govern- 
ment : but as the tyranny and persecution of tne old 
world daily drove numbers to the new, and as, by the favor 
of heaven on their industry and perseverance, they grew 
into importance, so, in a like degree, they became an object 
of profit to the greedy eyes of Europe. It was impossible, 
in this state of infancy, however thriving and promising, that 
they could resist the power of any armed invader that should 
seek to bring them under his authority. In this situation, 
Britain thought it worth her while to claim them, and the 
continent received and acknowledged the claimer. It was, 
in reality, of no very great importance who was her master, 
seeing, that from the force and ambition of the different 
powers of Europe, she must, till she acquired strength enough 
to assert her own right, acknowledge some one. As well, 
perhaps, Britain as another ; and it might have been as well 
to have been under the states of Holland as any. The same 
hopes of engrossing and profiting by her trade, by not 
oppressing it too much, would have operated alike with 
any master, and produced to the colonies the same effects. 
The clamor of protection, likewise, was all a farce ; because, 
in order to make that protection necessary, she must first, 
by her own quarrels, create us enemies. Hard times indeed ! 
To know whether it be the interest of the continent to be 
independent, we need only ask this easv, simple question : 
Is it the interest of a man to be a boy all his life ? The an- 
swer to one will be the answer to both. America hath been 
one continued scene of legislative contention from the first 
king's representative to the last ; and this was unavoidably 
founded in the natural opposition of interest between the old 
country and the new. A governor sent from England, or 
receiving his authority therefrom, ought never to have been 
considered in any other light than that of a genteel commis- 
sioned spy, whose private business was information, and his 
public business a kind of civilized oppression. In the first of 
these characters he was to watch the tempers, sentiments 
and dispositions of the people, the growth of trade, and the 



82 THE CRISIS. 

increase of private fortunes; and, in the latter, to suppress 
all such acts of the assemblies, however beneficial to the 
people, which did not directly or indirectly, throw some 
increase of power or profit into the hands of those that 
sent him. 

America, till now, could never be called a free country, 
because her legislation depended on the will of a man three 
thousand miles distant, whose interest was in opposition to 
ours, and who, by a single " no," could forbid what law he 
pleased. 

The freedom of trade, likewise, is, to a trading country, 
an article of such importance, that the principal source of 
wealth depends upon it ; and it is impossible that any country 
can flourish, as it otherwise might do, whose commerce is 
engrossed, cramped and fettered by the laws and mandates 
of another yet these evils, and more than I can here enu- 
merate, the continent has suffered by being under the gov- 
ernment of England. By an independence we clear the 
whole at once put an end to the business of unanswered 
petitions and fruitless remonstrances exchange Britain for 
Europe shake hands with the world live at peace with 
the world and trade to any market where we can buy 
and sell. 

3d, The necessity, likewise, of being independent, even 
before it was declared, became so evident and important, 
that the continent ran the risk of being ruined every day 
that she delayed it. There was reason to believe that Bri- 
tain would endeavour to make an European matter of it, 
and, rather than lose the whole, would dismember it, like 
Poland, and dispose of her several claims to the highest bid- 
der. Genoa, failing in her attempts to reduce Corsica, made 
a sale of it to the French, and such traffics have been com- 
mon in the old world. We had at that time no ambassador 
in any part of Europe, to counteract her negociations, and 
by that means she had the range of every foreign court un- 
contradicted on our part. We even knew nothing of the 
treaty for the Hessians till it was concluded, and the troops 
ready to embark. Had we been independent before, we had 
probably prevented her obtaining them. We had no credit 
abroad, because of our rebellious dependency. Our ships 
could claim no protection in foreign courts, because we af- 
forded them no justifiable reason for granting it to us. The 
calling ourselves subjects, and at the same time fighting 
against the power which we acknowledged, was a dangerous 



THE CRISIS. 33 

precedent to all Europe. If the grievances justified the tak- 
ing up arms, they justified our separation ; if they did not 
justify our separation, neither could they justify our taking 
up arms. All Europe was interested in reducing us as rebels, 
and all Europe (or the greatest part at least) is interested in 
supporting us as independent states. At home our condition 
was still worse ; our currency had no foundation, and the 
fall of it would have ruined whig and tory alike. We had 
no other law than a kind of moderated passion ; no other 
civil power than an honest mob ; and no other protection 
than the temporary attachment of one man to another. Had 
independence been delayed a few months longer, this conti 
nent would have been plunged into irrecoverable confusion : 
some violent for it, some against it, till, in the general cabal, 
the rich would have been ruined, and the poor destroyed. It 
is to independence that every tory owes the present safety 
which he lives in ; for by that, and that only, we emerged 
from a state of dangerous suspense, and became a regular 
people. 

The necessity, likewise, of being independent, had there 
been no rupture between Britain and America, would, in a 
little time, have brought one on. The increasing importance 
of commerce, the weight and perplexity of legislation, and 
the entangled state of European politics, would daily have 
shown to the continent the impossibility of continuing sub- 
ordinate ; for, after the coolest reflections on the matter, this 
must be allowed, that Britain was too jealous of America to 
govern it justly ; too ignorant of it to govern it well ; and 
too far distant from it to govern it at all. 

4th. But what weigh most with all men of serious reflec- 
tion are, the moral advantages arising from independence : 
war and desolation have become the trade of the old world ; 
and America neither could, nor can be under the govern- 
ment of Britain without becoming a sharer of her guilt, and 
a partner in all the dismal commerce of death. The spirit 
of duelling, extended on a national scale, is a proper charac- 
ter for European wars. They have seldom any other motive 
than pride, or any other object than fame. The conquerors 
and the conquered are generally ruined alike, and the chief 
difference at last is, that the one marches home with his 
honors, and the other without them. "lis the natural tem- 
per of the English to fight for a feather, if they suppose that 
feather to be an affront ; and America, without the right 
of asking why, must have abetted in every quarrel, and 



34 THE OBI8I8. 

abided by its fate It is a shocking situation to live in, that 
one country must be brought into all the wars of another, 
whether the measure be right or wrong, or whether she will 
or not ; yet this, in the fullest extent, was, and ever would 
be, the unavoidable consequence of the connexion. Surely 
the Quakers forgot their own principles, when, in their late 
Testimony, they called this connexion, with these military 
and miserable appendages hanging to it " the happy con- 
stitution" 

Britain, for centuries past, has been nearly fifty years out 
of every hundred at war with some power or other. It cer- 
tainly ought to be a conscientious as well as political con- 
sideration with America, not to dip her hands in the bloody 
work of Europe. Our situation affords us a retreat from 
their cabals, and the present happy union of the states bids 
fair for extirpating the future use of arms from one quarter 
of the world ; yet such have been the irreligious politics of 
the present leaders of the Quakers, that, for the sake of they 
scarce know what, they would cut off every hope of such a 
blessing by tying this continent to Britain, like Hector to 
the chariot wheel of Achilles, to be dragged through all the 
miseries of endless European wars. 

The connexion, viewed from this ground, is distressing to 
every man who has the feelings of humanity. By having 
Britain for our master, we became enemies to the greatest 
part of Europe, and they to us : and the consequence was 
war inevitable. By being our own masters, independent of 
any foreign one, we have Europe for our friends, and the 
prospect of an endless peace among ourselves. Those who 
were advocates for the British government over these colo- 
nies, were obliged to limit both their arguments and their 
ideas to the period of an European peace only : the moment 
Britain became plunged in war, every supposed convenience 
to us vanished, and all we could hope for was not to be ru- 
ined. Could this be a desirable condition for a young coun- 
try to be in ? 

Had the French pursued their fortune immediately after 
the defeat of Braddock last war, this city and province had 
then experienced the woful calamities of being a British sub- 
ject. A scene of the same kind might happen again ; for 
America, considered as a subject to the crown of Britain, 
would ever have been the seat of war, and the bone of con- 
tention between the two powers. 

On the whole, if the future expulsion of arms from one 



THE CBI8I8. 3ft 

Barter of the world would be a desirable object to a peace- 
able man ; if the freedom of trade to every part of it can 
engage the attention of a man of business ; if the support 
or fall of millions of currency can affect our interests ; if 
the entire possession of estates, by cutting off the lordly 
claims of Britain over the soil, deserves the regard of landed 
property ; and if the right of making our own laws, uncon- 
trolled by royal or ministerial spies or mandates, be worthy 
our care as freemen ; then are all men interested in the 
support of independence ; and may he that supports it not, 
be driven from the blessing, and live unpitied beneath the 
servile suffering of scandalous subjection ! 

We have been amused with the tales of ancient wonders ; 
we have read, and wept over the histories of other nations ; 
applauded, censured, or pitied, as their cases affected us. 
The fortitude and patience of the sufferers the justness of 
their cause the weight of their oppressions and oppressors 
the object to be saved or lost with all the consequences 
of a defeat or a conquest have, in the hour of sympathy, 
bewitched our hearts, and chained it to their fate : but 
where is the power that ever made war upon petitioners ? 
Or where is the war on which a world was staked till now ? 

We may not, perhaps, be wise enough to make all the 
advantages we ought of our independence; but they are, 
nevertheless, marked and presented to us with every charac- 
ter of great and good, and worthy the hand of him who sent 
them. I look through the present trouble to a time of tran- 
quillity, when we shall have it in our power to set an 
example of peace to all the world. Were the Quakers 
really impressed and influenced by the quiet principles the} 
profess to hold, they would, however they might disapprove 
the means, be the first of all men to approve of independence, 
because, by separating ourselves from the cities of Sodom 
and Gomorrah, it affords an opportunity never given to 
man before, of carrying their favorite principle of peace 
into general practice, by establishing governments that 
shall hereafter exist without wars. O I ye fallen, cringing, 
priest and Pemberton-ridden people ! What more can we 
say of ve then that a religious Quaker is a valuable charac- 
ter, and a political Quaker a real Jesuit. 

Having thus gone over some of the principal points in 
support of independence, I must now request the reader to 
return back witn me to the period when it first began to be 
a public doctrine, and to examine the progress it nas made 



36 THE CRISIS. 

among the various classes of men. The era I mean to begin 
at, is the breaking out of hostilities, April 19th, 1775. Until 
this event happened, the continent seemed to view the dis- 
pute as a kind of law-suit for a matter of right, litigating 
between the old country and the new ; and she felt the 
same kind and degree of horror, as if she had seen an op- 
pressive plaintiff, at the head of a band of ruffians, enter the 
court, while the cause was before it, and put the judge, the 
jury, the defendant and his counsel, to the sword. Perhaps 
a more heart-felt convulsion never reached the country with 
the same degree of power and rapidity before, and never 
may again. Pity for the sufferers, mixed with indignation 
at the violence, and heightened with apprehensions of un- 
dergoing the same fate, made the affair of Lexington the 
affair of the continent. Every part of it felt the shock, and 
all vibrated together. A general promotion of sentiment 
took place : those who had drank deeply into whiggish 
principles, that is, the right and necessity not only of op- 
posing, but wholly setting aside the power of the crown as 
soon as it became practically dangerous (for in theory it was 
always so) stepped into the first stage of independence ; while 
another class of whigs, equally sound in principle, but not 
so sanguine in enterprise, attached themselves the stronger 
to the cause, and fell close in with the rear of the former ; 
their partition was a mere point. Numbers of the moderate 
men, whose chief fault, at that time, arose from their enter- 
taining a better opinion of Britain than she deserved, con- 
vinced now of their mistake, gave her up, and publicly de- 
clared themselves good whigs. While the tories, seeing it 
was no longer a laughing matter, either sunk into silent 
obscurity, or contented themselves with coming forth and 
abusing general Gage : not a single advocate appeared to 
justify the action of that day ; it seemed to appear to every 
one with the same magnitude, struck every one with the 
same force, and created in every one the same abhorrence. 
From this period we may date the growth of independence. 
If the many circumstances which happened at this me- 
morable time, be taken in one view, and compared with 
each other, they will justify a conclusion which seems not 
to have been attended to, I mean a fixed design in the king 
and ministry of driving America into arms, in order that 
they might be furnished with a pretence for seizing the 
whole continent, as the immediate property of the crown. 
A. noble plunder for hungry courtiers 1 



THE CRISIS. 37 

It ought to be remembered that the first petition from the 
congress was at this time unanswered on the part of the 
British king. That the motion, called Lord North's motion, 
of the 20th February, 1775, arrived in America the latter 
end of March. This motion was to be laid by the several 
governors, then in being, before the assembly of each pro- 
vince ; and the first assembly before which it was laid, ivas 
the assembly of Pennsylvania, in May following. This 
being a just state of the case, I then ask, why were hostilities 
commenced between the time of passing the resolve in thf 
house of commons, of the 20th of February, and the time of 
the assemblies meeting to deliberate upon it? Degrading 
and infamous as that motion was, there is, nevertheless, 
reason to believe that the king and his adherents were afraid 
the colonies would agree to it, and lest they should,' took 
effectual care they should not, by provoking them with hos- 
tilities in the interim. They had not the least doubt at that 
time of conquering America at one blow ; and what they 
expected to get by a conquest being infinitely greater than 
any thing they could hope get either by taxation or accom- 
modation, they seemed determined to prevent even the pos- 
sibility of hearing each other, lest America should disap- 
point their greedy hopes of the whole, by listening even to 
their own terms. On the one hand they refused to hear the 
petition of the continent, and on the other hand took effec- 
tual care the continent should not hear them. 

That the motion of the 20th of February and the orders 
for commencing hostilities were both concerted by the same 
person or persons, and not the latter by general Gage, as 
was falsely imagined at first, is evident from an extract of a 
letter of his to the administration, read among other papers 
in the house of commons ; in which he informs his masters, 
" That though their idea of his disarming certain counties 
was a right one, yet it required him to be master of the 
country, in order to enable him. to execute it" This was prior 
to the commencement of hostilities, and consequently before 
the motion of the 20th February could be deliberated on by 
the several assemblies. 

Perhaps it may be asked, why was the motion passed, if 
there was at the same time a % plan to aggravate the Ameri- 
cans not to listen to it ? Lord North assigned one reason 
himself, which was a hope of dividing them. This was pub- 
licly tempting them to reject it; that if, in case the injury 
of arms should fail in provoking them sufficiently, the insult 



38 THE CRISIS. 

of such a declaration might fill it up. But by passing the 
motion and getting it afterwards rejected in America, it 
enabled them, in their wretched idea of politics, among 
other things, to hold up the colonies to foreign powers, with 
every possible mark of disobedience and rebellion. They 
had applied to those powers not to supply the continent 
with arms, ammunition, &c. and it was necessary they 
should incense them against us, by assigning on their own 
part some seeming reputable reason why. By dividing, it 
had a tendency to weaken the states, and likewise to per- 
plex the adherents of America in England. But the princi- 
pal scheme, and that which has marked their character in 
every part of their conduct, was a design of precipitating 
the colonies into a state which they might afterwards deem 
rebellion, and, under that pretence, put an end to all future 
complaints, petitions and remonstrances, by seizing the 
whole at once. They had ravaged one part of the globe, 
till it could glut them no longer ; their prodigality required 
new plunder, and through the East India article tea they 
hoped to' transfer their rapine from that quarter of the world 
to this. Every designed quarrel had its pretence ; and the 
same barbarian avarice accompanied the plant to America, 
which ruined the country that produced it. 

That men never turn rogues without turning fools is a 
maxim, sooner or later, universally true. The commence- 
ment of hostilities, being in the beginning of April, was, of 
all times the worst chosen : the congress were to meet the 
tenth of May following, and the distress the continent felt at 
this unparalleled outrage gave a stability to that body, which 
no other circumstance could have done. It suppressed, too, 
all inferior debates, and bound them together by a necessi- 
tous affection, without giving them time to differ upon 
trifles, the suffering, likewise, softened the whole body of 
the people into a degree of pliability, which laid the princi- 
pal foundation-stone of union, order and government ; and 
which, at any other time, might only have fretted and then 
faded away unnoticed and unimproved: but Providence, 
who best knows how to time her misfortunes as well as her 
immediate favors, chose this to be the time, and who dare 
dispute it? 

It did not seem the disposition of the people, at this crisis, 
to heap petition upon petition, while the former remained 
unanswered : the measure, however, was carried in congress, 
and*a second petition was sent ; of which I shall only remark 



THE CRISIS. 39 

that it was submissive even to a dangerous fault, because the 
prayer of it appealed solely to what is called the preroga- 
tive of the crown, while the matter in dispute was confess- 
edly constitutional. But even this petition, flattering as it 
was, was still not so harmonious as the chink of cash, and 
consequently not sufficiently grateful to the tyrant and his 
ministry. From every circumstance it is evident, that it 
was the determination of the British court to have nothing 
to do with America but to conquer her fully and absolutely. 
They were certain of success, and the field of battle was the 
only place of treaty. I am confident there are thousands 
and tens of thousands in America who wonder now that 
they should ever have thought otherwise ; but the sin of that 
day was the sin of civility, yet it operated against our present 
good in the same manner that a civil opinion of the devil 
would against our future peace. 

Independence was a doctrine scarce and rare, even towards 
the conclusion of the year 1775 ; all our politics had been 
founded on the hope or expectation of making the matter up 
a hope, which, though general on the side of America, had 
never entered the head or heart of the British court. Their 
hope was conquest and confiscation. Good heavens ! what 
volumes of thanks does America owe to Britain? What 
infinite obligation to the tool that fills, with paradoxical 
vacancy, the throne ! Nothing but the sharpest essence of 
villany, compounded with the strongest distillation of folly, 
could nave produced a menstruum that would have effected 
a separation. The congress in 1774, administered an abortive 
medicine to independence, by prohibiting the importation of 
goods, and the succeeding congress rendered the dose still 
more dangerous by continuing it. Had independence been 
a settled system with America, (as Britain has advanced,) 
she ought to have doubled her importation, and prohibited 
in some degree her exportation. And this single circumstance 
is sufficient to acquit America before any jury of nations, of 
having a continental plan of independence in view : a charge 
which, had it been true, would have been honorable, but is 
so grossly false, that either the amazing ignorance or the 
wilful dishonesty of the British court, is effectually proved 
by it. 

The second petition, like the first, produced no answer ; 
it was scarcely acknowledged to have been received ; the 
British court were too determined in their villainy even to 
act it artfully and in their rage for conquept neglected the 



40 THE CBI8I8. 

necessary subtleties for obtaining it. They might have 
divided, distracted and played a thousand tricks with as, 
had they been as cunning as they were cruel. 

This last indignity gave a new spring to independence. 
Those who knew the savage obstinacy of the king, and the 
jobbing, gambling spirit of the court, predicted the fate of 
the petition, as soon as it was sent from America ; for the 
men being known, their measures were easily foreseen. As 
politicians we ought not so much to ground our hopes on the 
reasonableness of the thing we ask, as on the reasonableness of 
the person of whom we ask it ; who would expect discretion 
from a fool, candor from a tyrant, or justice from a villain ? 

As every prospect of accommodation seemed now to fail 
fast, men began to think seriously on the matter ; and their 
reason being thus stripped of the false hope which had long 
encompassed it, became approachable by fair debate ; yet 
still the bulk of the people hesitated ; they startled at the 
novelty of independence, without once considering that our 
getting into arms at first was a more extraordinary novelty, 
and that all other nations had gone through the work of 
independence before us. They doubted likewise the ability 
of the continent to support it, without reflecting that it 
required the same force to obtain an accommodation by 
arms as an independence. If the one was acquirable, the 
other was the same ; because, to accomplish either, it wa& 
necessary that our strength should be too great for Britain 
to subdue ; and it was too unreasonable to suppose, that 
with the power of being masters, we should submit to be 
servants.* Their caution at this time was exceedingly mis- 

* In this state of political suspense the pamphlet Common Sense made its 
appearance, and the success it met with does not become me to mention. Dr. 
Franklin, Mr. Samuel and John Adams, were severally spoken of as the 
supposed author. I had not, at that time, the pleasure either of personally 
knowing or being known to the two last gentlemen. The favor of Dr. Frank- 
lin's friendship I possessed in England, and my introduction to this part of the 
world was through his patronage. I happened, when a school-boy, to pick up 
a pleasing natural history of Virginia, and my inclination from that day of 
seeing the western side of the Atlantic never left me. In October, 1776, Dr. 
Franklin proposed giving me such materials as were in his hands, towards 
completing a history of the present transactions, and seemed desirous of 
having the first volume out next spring. I had then formed the outlines of 
Common Sense, and finished nearly the first part; and as I supposed the 
do 'tor's design in getting out a history, was to open the new year with a new 
system, I expected to surprise him with a production on that subject, much 
earlier than he thought of; and without informing him what I was doing, got 
it ready for the press as fast as I conveniently could, and sent him the firs* 
pamphlet that was printed off. 



THE CRISIS. 



placed ; for if they were able to defend their property and 
maintain their rights by arms, they, consequently, were able 
to defend and support their independence ; and in proportion 
as these men saw the necessity and correctness of the measure, 
r ,hey honestly and openly declared and adopted it, and the 
part that they have acted since, has done them honor and 
fully established their characters. Error in opinion has this 
peculiar advantage with it, that the foremost point of the 
contrary ground may at any time be reached by the sudden 
exertion of a thought ; and it frequently happens in senti- 
mental differences, that some striking circumstance, or some 
forcible reason quickly conceived will effect in an instant 
what neither argument nor example could produce in an age. 

I find it impossible in the small compass I am limited to, 
to trace out the progress which independence has made on 
the minds of the different classes of men, and the several 
reasons by which they were moved. With some, it was a 
passionate abhorrence against the king of England and his 
ministry, as a set of savages and brutes ; and these men, 
governed by the agony of a wounded mind, were for trust- 
ing every thing to hope and heaven, and bidding defiance at 
once. With others, it was a growing conviction that the 
scheme of the British court was to create, ferment, and drive 
on a quarrel, for the sake of confiscated plunder ; and men 
of this class ripened into independence in proportion as the 
evidence increased. While a third class conceived it was 
the true interest of America, internally and externally, to be 
her own master, and gave their support to independence, 
step by step, as they saw her abilities to maintain it enlarge. 
With many, it was a compound of all these reasons ; while 
those who were too callous to be reached by either, remained, 
and still remain tories. 

The legal necessity of being independent, with several col- 
lateral reasons, is pointed out in an elegant masterly manner, 
in a charge to the grand jury for the district of Charleston, 
by the Hon. William Henry Drayton, Chief Justice of South 
Carolina. This performance, and the address of the conven- 
tion of New York, are pieces, in my humble opinion, of the 
first rank in America. 

The principal causes why independence has not been so 
universally supported as it ought, &refear and indolence, and 
the causes why it has been opposed, are, avarice, down-right 
villainy, and lust of personal power. There is not such a 
being in America as a tory from conscience : some secret 



42 THE CRISIS. 

defect or other is interwoven in the character of all those, be 
they men or women, who can look with patience on the brutal- 
ity, luxury and debauchery of the British court, and the vio- 
lations of their army here. A woman's virtue must sit very 
lightly on her who can even hint a favorable sentiment 
in their behalf. It is remarkable that the whole race of 
prostitutes in New York were tories ; and the schemes foi 
supporting the tory cause in this city, for which severa* 
are now in jail, and one hanged, were concerted and car 
ried on in common bawdy-houses, assisted by those wh< 
kept them. 

The connexion between vice and meanness is a fit subject 
for satire, but when the satire is a fact, it cuts with the irre 
sistible power of a diamond. If a Quaker, in defence of hi> 
just rights, his property, and the chastity of his house, take* 
up a musket, he is expelled the meeting ; but the present 
king of England, who seduced and took into keeping a sistei 
of their society, is reverenced and supported by repeated 
Testimonies, wnile the friendly noodle from whom she was 
taken (and who is now in this city) continues a drudge in the 
service of his rival, as if proud of being cuckolded by a crea- 
ture called a king. 

Our support and success depend on such a variety of men 
and circumstances, that every one who does but wish well, 
is of some use : there are men who have a strange aversion 
to arms, yet have hearts to risk every shilling in the cause, 
or in support of those who have better talents for defending 
it. Nature, in the arrangement of mankind, has fitted some 
for every service in life : were all soldiers, all would starve 
and go naked, and were none soldiers, all would be slaves 
As disaffection to independence is the badge of a tory, s 
affection to it is the mark of a whig ; and the different ser- 
vices of the whigs, down from those who nobly contribute 
every thing, to those who have nothing to render but their 
wishes, tend all to the same centre, though with different 
degrees of merit and ability. The larger we make the circle, 
the more we shall harmonize, and the stronger we shall be. 
All we want to shut out is disaffection, and, that excluded, 
we must accept from each other such duties as we are best 
fitted to bestow. A narrow system of politics, like a narrow 
system of religion, is calculated only to sour the temper, and 
be at variance with mankind. 

All we want to know in America is simply this, who is for 
independence, and who ip not ? Those who are for it, wil] 



THE CRISIS. 48 

rapport it, and the remainder will undoubtedly see the rea- 
sonableness of paying the charges ; while those who oppose 
or seek to betray it, must expect the more rigid fate 01 the 
jail and the gibbet. There is a bastard kind of generosity, 
which being extended to all men, is as fatal to society, on 
one hand, as the want of true generosity is on the other. A 
lax manner of administering justice, falsely termed modera- 
tion, has a tendency both to dispirit public virtue, and pro- 
mote the growth of public evils. Had the late committee of 
safety taken cognizance of the last Testimony of the Quakers 
and proceeded against such^ delinquents as were concerned 
therein, they had, probably, prevented the treasonable plans 
which have been concerted since. When one villain is suf- 
fered to escape, it encourages another to proceed, either from 
a hope of escaping likewise, or an apprehension that we dare 
not punish. It has been a matter of general surprise, that 
no notice was taken of the incendiary publication of the 
Quakers, of the 20th of November last : a publication evi- 
dently intended to promote sedition and treason, and encour- 
age the enemy, who were then within a day's march of this 
city, to proceed on and possess it. I here present the reader 
with a memorial which was laid before the board of safety 
a few days after the Testimony appeared. Not a member 
of that board, that I conversed with, but expressed the high- 
est detestation of the perverted principles and conduct of 
the Quaker junto, and a wish that the board would take 
the matter up ; notwithstanding which, it was suffered to 
pass away unnoticed, to the encouragement of new acts of 
treason, the general danger of the cause, and the disgrace of 
the state. 

To the honorable the Council of Safety of the State of Pennsylvania. 

At a meeting of a reputable number of the inhabitants of 
the city of Philadelphia, impressed with a proper sense of 
the justice of the cause whicn this continent is engaged in, 
and animated with a generous fervor for supporting the 
same, it was resolved, that the following be laid before the 
board of safety : 

" We profess liberality of sentiment to all men ; with this 
distinction only, that those who do not deserve it would 
become wise and seek to deserve it. We hold the pure doc- 
trices of universal liberty of conscience, and conceive it our 
-rty *o endeavor to secure that su-red right to others, a* 



i THE CB18I8. 

well as to defend it for ourselves ; for we undertake not to 
judge of the religious rectitude of tenets, but leave the 
whole matter to Him who made us. 

" We persecute no man, neither will we abet in the per- 
secution of any man for religion's sake ; our common rela- 
tion to others being that of fellow-citizens and fellow-sub- 
jects of one single community ; and in this line of connexion 
we hold out the right hand of fellowship to all men. But 
we should conceive ourselves to be unworthy members of 
the free and independent states of America, were we uncon- 
cernedly to see or to suffer any treasonable wound, public 
or private, directly or indirectly, to be given against the 
peace and the safety of the same. We inquire not into the 
rank of the offenders, nor into their religious persuasion ; 
we have no business with either, our part being only to find 
them out and exhibit them to justice. 

"A printed paper, dated the 20th of November, and 
signed ' John Pevibertonj whom we suppose to be an inhabi- 
tant of this city, has lately been dispersed abroad, a copy 
of which accompanies this. Had the framers and publish- 
ers of that paper conceived it their duty to exhort the youth 
and others of their society, to a patient submission under 
the present trying visitations, and humbly to await the even" 
of heaven towards them, they had therein showed a Christ- 
ian temper, and we had been silent; but the anger and 
political virulence with which their instructions are given, 
and the abuse with which they stigmatize all ranks of men, 
not thinking like themselves, leave no doubt on our minds 
from what spirit their publication proceeded : and it is dis- 
graceful to the pure cause of truth, that men can dally with 
words of the most sacred import, and play them off as 
mechanically as if religion consisted only in contrivance. 
We know of no instance in which the Quakers have been 
compelled to bear arms, or to do any which might strain 
their conscience, wherefore their advice, ' to withstand and 
refuse to submit to the arbitrary instructions and ordinances 
of men,' appear to us a false alarm, and could only be trea- 
sonably calculated to gain favor with our enemies, when 
they are seemingly on the brink of invading this state, or, 
what is still worse, to weaken the hands of our defence, that 
their entrance into this city might be made practicable and 
easy. 

" We disclaim all tumult and disorder in the punishment 
of offenders ; and wish to be governed, not by temper but 



THE CRISIS. 45 

by reason, in the manner of treating them. We are sensi- 
ble that our cause has suffered by the two following errors ; 
first, by ill-judged lenity to traitorous persons in some cases ; 
and, secondly, by only a passionate treatment of them in 
others. For the future we disown both, and wish to be 
Bteady in our proceedings, and serious in our punishments. 

" Every state in America has, by the repeated voice of its 
inhabitants, directed and authorised the continental congress 
to publish a formal declaration of independence of, and 
separation from, the oppressive king and parliament of 
Gre Britain ; and we look on every man as an enemy 
who does not in some line or other, give his assistance 
towards supporting the same ; at the same time we consider 
the offence to be heightened to a degree of unpardonable 
guilt, when such persons, under the show of religion, 
endeavor, either by writing, speaking, or otherwise, to sub- 
vert, overturn, or bring reproach upon the independence of 
this continent as declared by congress. 

The publishers of the paper signed * John PembertonJ 
have called in loud manner to their friends and connexions, 
* to withstand or refuse' obedience to whatever ' instructions 
or ordinances' may be published, not warranted by (what 
they call) ' that happy constitution under which they and 
others long enjoyed tranquillity and peace.' If this be not 
treason, we know not what may properly be called by that 
name. 

" To us it is a matter of surprise and astonishment, that 
men with the word 'peace, peace? continually on their lips, 
should be so fond of living under and supporting a govern- 
ment, and at the same time calling it ' happy,' which is never 
better pleased than when at war that hath filled India with 
carnage and famine, Africa with slavery, and tampered with 
Indians and negroes to cut the throats of the freemen of 
America. We conceive it a disgrace to this state, to harbor 
or wink at such palpable hypocrisy. But as we seek not to 
hurt the hair 01 any man's nead, when we can make our- 
ioivec, afe without, we wish such persons to restore peace to 
themselves and us, by removing themselves to some part of 
the king of Great Britain's dominions, as by that means they 
may live unmolested by us and we by them ; for our fixed 
opinion is, that those who do not deserve a place among us, 
ought not to have one. 

" We conclude with requesting the council of safety to 
take into consideration the paper signed ' John Pemberton? 



46 THE CRISIS. 

and if it shall appear to them to be of a dangerous tendency, 
or of a treasonable nature, that they would commit the 
signer, together with such other persons as they can discover 
were concerned therein, into custody, until such time as 
some mode of trial shall ascertain the full degree of their 
gvilt and punishment ; in the doing of which, we wish their 
judges, whoever they may be, to disregard the man, hig 
connexions, interest, riches, poverty, or principles of religion, 
and to attend to the nature of his offence only." 

The most cavilling sectarian cannot accuse the foregoing 
with containing the least ingredient of persecution. The 
free spirit on which the American cause is founded, disdains 
to mix with such an impurity, and leaves it as rubbish fit 
only for narrow and suspicious minds to grovel in. Suspicion 
and persecution are weeds of the same dunghill, and flourish 
together. Had the Quakers minded their religion and their 
business, they might have lived through this dispute in 
enviable ease, and none would have molested them. The 
common phrase with these people is, ' Our principles are 
peace? To which may be replied, and your practices ai*e 
the, reverse / for never did the conduct of men oppose their 
own doctrine more notoriously than the present race of the 
Quakers. They have artfully changed themselves into a 
different sort of people to what they used to be, and yet 
have the address to persuade each other that they are not 
altered; like antiquated virgins, they see not the havoc 
deformity has made upon them, but pleasantly mistaking 
wrinkles for dimples, conceive themselves yet lovely and 
wonder at the stupid world for not admiring them. 

Did no injury arise to the public by this apostacy of the 
Quakers from themselves, the public would have nothing to 
do with it ; but as both the design and consequences are 
pointed against a cause in which the whole community are 
interested, it is therefore no longer a subject confined to the 
cognizance of the meeting only, but comes, as a matter of 
criminality, before either the authority of the particular 
state in which it is acted, or of the continent against which 
it operates. Every attempt, now, to support the authority 
of the king and parliament of Great Britain over America, 
is treason against every state ; therefore it is impossible that 
any one can pardon or screen from punishment an offender 
against all. 

But to proceed : while the infatuated tories of this and 
other states were last spring talking of commissioners, 



THE ORISIb. 47 

accommodation, making the matter up, and the Lord knows 
what stuff and nonsense, their good king and ministry were 
glutting themselves with the revenge of reducing America 
to unconditional submission, and solacing each other with 
the certainty of conquering it in one campaign. The follow- 
ing quotations are from the parliamentary register of the 
debates of the house of lords, March 5th, 1776 : 

" The Americans," says lord Talbot,* " have been obstinate, 
undutiful, and ungovernable from the very beginning, from 
their first early and infant settlements ; and I am every day 
more and more convinced that this people never will be 
brought back to their duty, and the subordinate relation 
they stand in to this cauntry, till reduced to unconditional, 
effectual submission / no concession on our part, no lenity ', no 
endurance, will have any other effect but that of increasing 
their insolence." 

" The struggle," says lord Townsend,f " is now a struggle 
for power ; the die is cast, and the only point which now re- 
mains to be determined, is, in what manner the war can be 
most effectually prosecuted and speedily finished, in order to 
procure that unconditional submission, which has been so 
ably stated by the noble earl with the white staff;" (meaning 
lord Talbot,) " and I have no reason to doubt that the mea- 
sures now pursuing will put an end to the war in the course 
of a single campaign. Snould it linger longer, we shall then 
have reason to expect that some foreign power will inter- 
fere, and take advantage of our domestic troubles and civil 
distractions." 

Lord Littleton. " My sentiments are pretty well known. 
I shall only observe now that lenient measures have had no 
other effect than to produce insult after insult; that the 
more we conceded, the higher America rose in her demands, 
and the more insolent she has grown. It is for this reason 
that I am now for the most effective and decisive measures ; 
and am of opinion that no alternative is left us, but to relin- 
quish America for ever, or finally determine to compel her 
to acknowledge the legislative authority of this country ; and 
it is the principle of an unconditional submission I would be 
for maintaining." 

Can words be more expressive than these? Surely the 
tones will believe the tory lords ! The truth is, they do be- 

' Rreward of the king's household. 

f Formerly, general Townsend, at Quebec, and late lord-lieutenant of 

Ireland. 



48 THE CRISIS. 

lieve them, and know as fully as any whig on the continent 
knows, that the king and ministry never had the least design 
of an accommodation with America, but an absolute, uncon- 
ditional conquest. And the part which the tories were to 
act, was, by downright lying, to endeavour to put the conti- 
nent off its guard, and to divide and sow discontent in the 
minds of such whigs as they might gain an influence over. 
In short, to keep up a distraction here, that the force sent 
from England might be able to conquer in " one campaign" 
They and the ministry were, by a different game, playing 
into each other's hands. The cry of the tories in England 
was, " No reconciliation, no accommodation" in order to 
obtain the greater military force ; while those in America 
were crying nothing but "reconciliation and accommoda- 
tion" that the force sent might conquer with the less re- 
sistance. 

But this " single campaign " is over, and America not con- 
quered. The whole work is yet to do, and the force much 
less to do it with. Their condition is both despicable and 
deplorable : out of cash out of heart, and out of hope. A 
country furnished with arms and ammunition, as America 
now is, with three millions of inhabitants, and three thousand 
miles distant from the nearest enemy that can approach her, 
is able to look and laugh them in the face. 

Howe appears to have two objects in view, either to go up 
the North river, or come to Philadelphia. 

By going up the North river, he secures a retreat for his 
army through Canada, but the ships must return if they re- 
turn at all, the same way they went ; as our army would be 
in the rear, the safety of their passage down is a doubtful 
matter. By such a motion he shuts himself from all supplies 
from Europe, but through Canada, and exposes his army 
and navy to the danger of perishing. The idea of his cut- 
ting off the communication between the eastern and southern 
states, by means of the North river, is merely visionary. 
He cannot do it by his shipping, because no ship can lay 
long at anchor in any river within reach of the shore ; a 
single gun would drive a first rate from such a station. 
This was fully proved last October at forts Washington 
and Lee, where one gun only, on each side of the river, 
obliged two frigates to cut and be towed off in an hour's 
time. Neither can he cut it off by his army ; because the 
several posts they must occupy, would divide them almost 
to nothing, and expose thurn to be picked up by ours like 



THE CRISIS. 49 

pebbles on a river's bank. But admitting that he could, 
where is the injury ? Because, while his whole force is can- 
toned out, as sentries over the water, they will be very in- 
nocently employed, and the moment they march into the 
country, the communication opens. 

The most probable object is Philadelphia, and the reasons 
are many. Howe's business is to conquer it, and in propor- 
tion as ne finds himself unable to the task, he will employ 
his strength to distress women and weak minds, in order to 
accomplish through their fears what he cannot accomplish 
by his own force. His coming or attempting to come to 
Philadelphia is a circumstance that proves nis weakness : for 
no general that felt himself able to take the field and attack 
his antagonist, would think of bringing his army into a city 
in the summer time ; and this mere shifting the scene from 
place to place, without effecting any thing, has feebleness 
and cowardice on the face of it, and holds him up in a con- 
temptible light to all who can reason justly and firmly. 
By several informations from New York, it appears that 
their army in general, both officers and men, Lave given 
up the expectation of conquering America ; their eye now 
is fixed upon the spoil. They suppose Philadelphia to be 
rich with stores, and as they think to get more by robbing 
a town than by attacking an army, their movement towards 
this city is probable. We are not now contending against 
an army of soldiers, but against a band of thieves, who had 
rather plunder than fight, and have no other hope of con- 
quest tnan by cruelty. 

They expect to get a mighty booty, and strike another 
general panic, by making a sudden movement and getting 
possession of this city ; but unless they can march out as 
well as in, or get the entire command of the river, to remove 
off their plunder, they may probably be stopped with the 
stolen goods upon them. They have never yet succeeded 
wherever they nave been opposed, but at fort Washington. 
At Charleston their defeat was effectual. At Ticonderoga 
they ran away. In every skirmish at Kingsbridge and the 
White Plains they were obliged to retreat, and the instant 
that our arms were turned upon them in the Jerseys, they 
turned likewise, and those that turned not were taken. 

The necessity of always fitting our internal police to the 
circumstances of the times we live in, is something so strik- 
ingly obvious, that no sufficient objection can be made 
against it. The safety of all societies depends upon it ; and 



50 THE CEISlb. 

where this point is not attended to, the consequences will 
either be a general languor or a tumult. The encouragement 
and protection of the good subjects of any state, and the 
suppression and punishment of bad ones, are the principal 
objects for which all authority is instituted, and the line in 
which it ought to operate. We have in this city a strange 
variety of men and characters, and the circumstances of the 
times require that they should be publicly known ; it is not 
the number of tories that hurt us, so much as the not find- 
ing out who they are ; men must now take one side or the 
other, and abide by the consequences : the Quakers, trusting 
to their short-sighted sagacity, have, most unluckily for 
them, made their declaration in their last Testimony, and 
>ve ought now to take them at their word. They have vo- 
untarily read themselves out of continental meeting, and 
cannot hope to be restored to it again but by payment and 
penitence. Men whose political principles are .founded on 
avarice, are beyond the reach of reason, and the only cure 
of toryism of this cast, is to tax it. A substantial good 
drawn from a real evil, is of the same benefit to society, as 
if drawn from a virtue ; and where men have not public 
spirit to reflder themselves serviceable, it ought to be the 
study of government to draw the best use possible from 
their vices. When the governing passion of any man, or 
set of men, is once known, the method of managing them is 
easy ; for even misers, whom no public virtue can impress, 
would become generous, could a heavy tax be laid upon 
covetousness. 

The tories have endeavored to insure their property with 
the enemy, by forfeiting their reputation with us; from 
which may be justly inferred, that their governing passion is 
avarice. Make them as much afraid of losing on one side 
as on the other, and you stagger their toryism ; make them 
/nore so, and you reclaim them; for their principle is to 
worship the power which they are most afraid of. 

This method of considering men and things together, opens 
into a large field for speculation, and affords me an oppor- 
tunity of offering some observations on the state of our cur- 
rency, so as to make the support of it go hand in hand with 
the suppression of disaffection and the encouragement of 
public spirit. 

The thing which first presents itself in inspecting the state 
of the currency, is, that we have too much of it, and that 
there is a necessity of reducing the quantity , in order to 



THE CRISIS. 51 

increase the value. Men are daily growing poor by the very 
means that they take to get rich ; for in the same proportion 
that the prices of all goods on hand are raised, the value of 
all money laid by is reduced. A simple case will make this 
clear ; let a man have a 1001. in cash, and as many goods on 
hand as will to-day sell for 20Z. but not content with the 
present market price, he raises them to 401. and by so doing 
obliges others, in their own defence, to raise cent, per cent, 
likewise ; in this case it is evident that his hundreu pounds 
laid by, is reduced fifty pounds in value ; whereas, had the 
market lowered cent, per cent, his goods would have sold but 
for ten, but his hundred pounds would have risen in value 
to two hundred ; because it would then purchase as many 
goods again, or support his family as long again as before 
And, strange as it may seem, he is one hundred and fifty 
pounds the poorer for raising his goods, to what he would 
have been had he lowered them ; because the forty pounds 
which his goods sold for, is, by the general raise of the mar- 
ket cent, per cent., rendered of no more value than the ten 
pounds would be had the market fallen in the same propor- 
tion; and, consequently, the whole difference of gain or loss 
is on the difference in value of the hundred pounds laid by, 
viz. from fifty to two hundred. This rage for raising goods 
is for several reasons much more the fault of the tories than 
the whigs ; and yet the tories (to their shame and confusion 
ought they to be told of it) are by far the most noisy and 
discontented. The greatest part of the whigs, by being now 
either in the army or employed in some public service, are 
buyers only and not sellers, and as this evil has its origin in 
trade, it cannot be charged on those who are out of it. 

But the grievance has now become too general to be re- 
medied by partial methods, and the only effectual cure is to 
reduce the quantity of money : with half the quantity we 
should be richer than we are now, because the value of it 
would be doubled, and consequently our attachment to it 
increased ; for it is not the number of dollars a man has, 
but how far they will go, that makes him either rich or 
poor. 

These two points being admitted, viz. that the quantity 
of money is too great, and that the prices of goods can only 
be effectually reduced by reducing the quantity of the 
money, the next point to be considered is, tne method how 
to reduce it. 

The circumstances of the times, as before observed, re 



52 THE CRISIS. 

quire that the public characters of all men should now be 
mlly understood, and the only general method of ascertain- 
ing it is by an oath or affirmation, renouncing all allegiance 
to the king of Great Britain, and to support the indepen- 
dence of the United States, as declared by congress. Let, 
at the same time a tax of ten, fifteen, or twenty per cent, 
per annum, to be collected quarterly, be levied on all pro- 
perty. These alternatives, by being perfectly voluntary, will 
take in all sorts of people. Here is the test ; here is the tax. 
He who takes the former, conscientiously proves his affection 
to the cause, and binds himself to pay his quota by the best 
services in his power, and is thereby justly exempt from the 
/< cter ; and those who choose the latter, pay their quota in 
money, to be excused from the former, or rather, it is the 
price paid to us for their supposed, though mistaken, insur- 
surance with the enemy. 

But this is only a part of the advantage which would 
arise by knowing the different characters of the men. The 
whigs stake every thing on the issue of their arms, while 
the tories, by their disaffection, are sapping and under- 
mining their strength ; and, of consequence, the property of 
the whigs is the more exposed thereby ; and whatever injury 
their states may sustain by the movements of the enemy, 
must either be borne by themselves, who have done every 
thing which has yet been done, or by the tories, who have 
not only done nothing, but have, by their disaffection, 
invited the enemy on. 

In the present crisis we ought to know, square by square, 
and house by house, who are in real allegiance with the 
United Independent States, and who are not. Let but the 
line be made clear and distinct, and all men will then know 
what they are to trust to. It would not only be good 
policy but strict justice, to raise fifty or one hundred thou- 
sand pounds, or more, if it is necessary, out of the estates 
and property of the king of England's votaries, resident in 
Philadelphia, to be distributed, as a reward to those in- 
habitants of the city and state, who should turn out and 
repulse the enemy, should they attempt to march this way ; 
and likewise, to bind the property of all such persons to 
make good the damages which that of the whigs might sus- 
tain. In the undistinguishable mode of conducting war, we 
frequently make reprisals at sea, on the vessels of persons in 
England, who are friends to our cause, compared with the 
resident tories among us. 



THE CRISIS. 53 

In every former publication of mine, from Common Sense 
down to the last Crisis, I have generally gone on the 
charitable supposition, that the tones were rather a mis- 
taken than a criminal people, and have applied argument 
after argument, with all the candor and temper which 1 
was capable of, in order to set every part of the case clearly 
and fairly before them, and if possible to reclaim them from 
ruin to reason. I have done my duty by them and have 
now done with that doctrine, taking it for granted, that 
those who yet hold their disaffection, are, either a set of 
avaricious miscreants, who would sacrifice the continent to 
save themselves, or a banditti of hungry traitors, who are 
hoping for a division of the spoil. To which may be added, 
a list of crown or proprietary dependants, who, rather than 
go without a portion of power, would be content to share it 
with the devil. Of such men there is no hope ; and their 
obedience will only be according to the danger set before 
them, and the power that is exercised over them. 

A time will shortly arrive, in which, by ascertaining the 
characters of persons now, we shall be guarded against their 
mischiefs then ; for in proportion as the enemy despair of 
conquest, they will be trying the arts of seduction and the 
force of fear by all the mischiefs which they can inflict. 
But in war we may be certain of these two things, viz. that 
cruelty in an enemy, and motions made with more than 
usual parade, are always signs of weakness. He that can 
conquer, finds his mind, too free and pleasant to be brutish ; 
and lie that intends to conquer, never makes too much show 
of his strength. 

We now know the enemy we have to do with. "WTiile 
drunk with the certainty of victory, they disdained to be 
civil ; and in proportion as disappointment makes them so- 

3r, and their apprehensions 01 an Europe 



ber, and their apprehensions of an European war alarm 
them, they will become cringing and artful; honest they 
cannot be. But our answer to them, in either condition 
they may be in, is short and full " As free and independent 
states we are willing to make peace with you to-morrow, 
but we neither can hear nor reply in any other character." 

If Britain cannot conquer us, it proves that she is neither 
able to govern nor protect us, and our particular situation 
now is such, that any connexion with her would be unwisely 
exchanging a half-defeated enemy for two powerful ones. 
Europe, by every appearance, is now on the eve, nay, on 
the morning twilight of a war, and any alliance with George 



54 THE CRISIS. 

the third, brings France and Spain upon our backs ; a sepa- 
ration from him attaches them to our side ; therefore, the 
only road to peace, honor and commerce, is Independence. 

W ritten this fourth year of the UNION, which God pre* 
serve. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, April 19, 1W 



tfUMBEK IY. 

THOSE who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, 
like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. The event 
of yesterday was one of those kind alarms which is just suf- 
ficient to rouse us to duty, without being of consequence 
enough to depress our fortitude. It is not a field of a few 
acres of ground, but a cause, that we are defending, and 
whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, 
the consequence will be the same. 

Look back at the events of last winter and the present 
year ; there you will find that the enemy's successes always 
contributed to reduce them. What they have gained in 
ground, they paid so dearly for in numbers, that their vic- 
tories have in the end amounted to defeats. We have 
always been masters at the last push, and always shall be 
while we do our duty. Howe has been once on the banks 
of the Delaware, and from thence driven back with loss and 
disgrace : and why not be again driven from the Schuylkill ? 
His condition and ours are very different. He has every- 
body to fight, we have only his one army to cope with, and 
which wastes away at every engagement : we can not only 
reinforce, but can redouble our numbers ; he is cut off from 
all supplies, and must sooner or later inevitably fall into 
our hands. 

Shall a band of ten or twelve thousand robbers, who are 
this day fifteen hundred or two thousand men less in strength 
than they were yesterday, conquer America, or subdue even 
a single state? The thing cannot be, unless we sit down 
and suffer them to do it. Another such a brush, notwith- 
standing we lost the ground, would, by still reducing the 
enemy, put them in a condition to be afterwards totally de- 
feat ' 



THE GBISI8. 55 

Could our whole army have come up to the attack at one 
time, the consequences had probably been otherwise ; but 
our having different parts of the Brandy wine creek to guard, 
and the uncertainty which road to Philadelphia the enemy 
would attempt to take, naturally afforded them an oppor- 
tunity of passing with their main body at a place where only 
a part 01 ours could be posted ; for it must strike every 
thinking man with conviction, that it requires a mucn 
greater force to oppose an enemy in several places, than is 
sufficient to defeat him in any one place. 

Men who are sincere in defending their freedom, will 
always feel concern at every circumstance which seems to 
make against them ; it is the natural and honest consequence 
of all affectionate attachments, and the want of it is a vice. 
But the dejection lasts only for a moment ; they soon rise 
out of it with additional vigor ; the glow of hope, courage 
and fortitude, will, in a little time, supply the place of every 
inferior passion, and kindle the whole heart into heroism. 

There is a mystery in the countenance of some causes, 
which we have not always present judgment enough to 
explain. It is distressing to' see an enemy advancing into a 
country, but it is the only place in which we can beat them, 
and in which we have always beaten them, whenever they 
made the attempt. The nearer any disease approaches to a 
crisis, the nearer it is to a cure. Danger and deliverance 
make their advances together, and it is only the last push, 
in which one or the other takes the lead. 

There are many men who will do their duty when it is 
not wanted; but a genuine public spirit always appears 
most when there is most occasion for it. Thank God 1 our 
army, though fatigued, is yet entire. The attack made by 
us yesterday, was under many disadvantages, naturally 
arising from the uncertainty of knowing which route the 
enemy would take ; and, from that circumstance, the whole 
of our force could not be brought up together time enough 
to engage all at once. Our strength is yet reserved ; and it 
is evident that Howe does not think himself a gainer by the 
affair, otherwise he would this morning have moved do wn 
and attacked general Washington. 

Gentlemen of the city and country, it is in your power, 
by a spirited improvement of the present circumstance, to 
turn it to a real advantage. Howe is now weaker than 
before, and every shot will continue to reduce him. You 
are more immediately interested than any other part of the 



56 THE CKI8I8. 

continent ; your all is at stake ; it is not so with the general 
cause ; you are devoted by the enemy to plunder and 
destruction : it is the encouragement which Howe, the chief 
of plunderers, has promised his army. Thus circumstanced, 
you may save yourselves by a manly resistance, and you 
can have no hope in any other conduct. I never yet knew 
our brave general, or any part of the army, officers or men, 
out of heart, and I have seen them in circumstances a 
thousand times more trying than the present. It is only 
those that are not in action, that feel languor and heaviness, 
and the best way to rub it off is to turn out, and make sure 
work of it. 

Our army must undoubtedly feel fatigue, and want a 
reinforcement, of rest, though not of valour. Our own 
interest and happiness call upon us to give them every 
support in our power, and make the burden of the day, on 
which the safety of this city depends, as light as possible 
Remember, gentlemen, that we have forces both to the 
northward and southward of Philadelphia, and if the enemy 
be but stopped till those can arrive, this city will be saved, 
and the enemy finally routed. You have too much at stake 
to hesitate. You ought not to think an hour upon the 
matter, but to spring to action at once. Other states have 
been invaded, have likewise driven off the invaders. Now 
our time and turn is come, and perhaps the finishing stroke 
is reserved for us. When we look back on the dangers we 
have been saved from, and reflect on the success we have 
been blessed with, it would be sinful either to be idle or to 
despair. 

I close this paper with a short address to general Howe. 
You, sir, are only lingering out the period that shall bring 
with it your defeat. You have yet scarce begun upon the 
war, and the further you enter, the faster will your troubles 
thicken. What you now enjoy is only a respite from ruin ; 
an invitation to destruction ; something that will lead on to 
our deliverance at your expense. We know the cause which 
we are engaged in, and though a passionate fondness for it 
may make us grieve at every injury which threatens it, yet, 
when the moment of concern is over, the determination to 
duty returns. We are not moved by the gloomy smile of a 
worthless king, but by the ardent glow of generous patriot- 
ism. We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and 
to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in. In 
such a case we are sure that we are right ; and we leave to. 



FHB CRISIS. 57 

you the despairing reflection of being the tool of a miserable 
tyrant. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, Sept. 12, 1777. 



NUMBER V. 
TO GEN. SIR WILLIAM HOWE. 

To argue with a man who has renounced the use and au- 
thority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding 
humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the 
dead, or endeavouring to convert an atheist by scripture. 
Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is 
the prerogative of animals. And no man will envy you those 
honours, in which a savage only can be your rival and a bear 
your master. 

As the generosity of this country rewarded your brother's 
services last war, with an elegant monument in "Westminster 
Abbey, it is consistent that she should bestow some mark of 
distinction upon you. You certainly deserve her notice, and 
a conspicuous place in the catalogue of extraordinary per- 
sons. Yet it would be a pity to pass you from the world in 
state, and consign you to magnificent oblivion among the 
tombs, without telling the future beholder why. Judas is as 
much known as John, yet history ascribes their fame to very 
different actions. 

Sir William hath undoubtedly merited a monument ; but 
of what kind, or with what inscription, where placed or how 
embellished, is a question that would puzzle all the heralds 
of St. James's in the profoundest mood of historical deliber- 
ation. We are at no loss, sir, to ascertain your real charac- 
ter, but somewhat perplexed how to perpetuate its identity, 
and preserve it uninjured from the transformations of time 
or mistake. A statuary may give a false expression to your 
bust, or decorate it with some equivocal emblems, by which 
you may happen to steal into reputation and impose upon 
the hereafter traditionary world. Ill nature or ridicule may 
conspire, or a variety of accidents combine to lessen, enlarge, 
or change Sir William's fame ; and no doubt but he who 
h*s taken so much pains to be singular in his conduct, w ild 



THE OBI8I8. 

choose to be just as singular in his exit, his monument and 
his epitaph. 

The usual honours of the dead, to be sure, are not suffi- 
ciently sublime, to escort a character like you to the repub- 
lic of dust and ashes ; for however men may differ in their 
ideas of grandeur or of government here, the grave is 
nevertheless a perfect republic. Death is not the monarch 
of the dead, but of the dying. The moment he obtains 
a conquest he loses a subject, and, like the foolish king 
you serve, will, in the end, war himself out of all his do- 
minions. 

As a proper preliminary towards the arrangement of your 
funeral nonours, we readily admit of you? new rank of 
knighthood. The title is perfectly in character, and is your 
own, more by merit than creation. There are knights of 
various orders, from the knight of the windmill to the knight 
of the post. The former is your pattern for exploits, and the 
latter will assist you in settling your accounts. No honour- 
ary title could be more happily applied ! The ingenuity is 
sublime ! And your royal master hath discovered more 
genius in fitting you therewith, than in generating the most 
finished figure for a button, or descanting on the properties 
of a button mould. 

But how, sir, shall we dispose of you ? The invention of 
a statuary is exhausted, and Sir William is yet unprovided 
with a monument. America is anxious to bestow her fune- 
ral favours upon you, and wishes to do it in a manner that 
shall distinguish you from all the deceased heroes of the last 
war. The Egyptian method of embalming is not known to 
the present age, and hieroglyphical pageantry hath outlived 
the science of decyphering it. Some other method, therefore, 
must be thought of to immortalize the new knight of the 
windmill and post. Sir "William, thanks to his stars, is noit 
oppressed with very delicate ideas. He has no ambition of 
being wrapped up and handed about in myrrh, aloes and 
cassia. Less expensive odours will suffice ; and it fortunately 
happens, that the simple genius of America hath discovered 
the art of preserving bodies, and embellishing them too, with 
much greater frugality than the ancients. In balmage, sir, 
of humble tar, you will be as secure as Pharaoh, and in * 
hieroglyphic of feathers, rival in finery all the mummies of 
Egypt. 

As you have already made your exit from the moral 
world, and by numberless acts both of passionate and deli 



THE CEIS18. 59 

herate injustice, engraved an " here lyeth " on your deceased 
honour, it must be mere affectation in you to pretend con- 
cern at the humours or opinions of mankind respecting you. 
What remains of you may expire at any time. The sooner 
the better. For he who survives his reputation, lives out 
of despite of himself, like a man listening to his own 
reproach. 

Thus entombed and ornamented, I leave you to the inspec- 
tion of the curious, and return to the history of your yet 
surviving actions. The character of Sir William nath un- 
dergone some extraordinary revolutions since his arrival in 
America. It is now fixed and known ; and we have nothing 
to hope from your candour or to fear from your capacity. 
Indolence and inability have too large a share in your com- 
position, ever to suffer you to be anything more than the 
hero of little villanies and unfinished adventures. That, 
which to some persons appeared moderation in you at first, 
was not produced by any real virtue of your own, but by a 
contrast of passions, dividing and holding you in perpetual 
irresolution. One vice will frequently expel another, without 
the least merit in the man, as powers in contrary directions 
reduce each other to rest. 

It became you to have supported a dignified solemnity of 
character ; to have shown a superior liberality of soul ; to 
have won respect by an obstinate perseverance in maintain- 
ing order, and to have exhibited on all occasions, such an 
unchangeable graciousness of conduct, that while we beheld 
in you the resolution of an enemy, we might admire in you 
the sincerity of a man. You came to America under the 
high sounding titles of commander and commissioner ; not 
only to suppress what you call rebellion, by arms, but to 
shame it out of countenance, by the excellence of your ex- 
ample. Instead of which, you have been the patron of low 
and vulgar frauds, the encourager of Indian cruelties ; and 
have imported a cargo of vices blacker than those which you 
pretend to suppress. 

Mankind are not universally agreed in their determination 
of right and wrong ; but there are certain actions which the 
consent of all nations and individuals hath branded with the 
unchangeable name of meanness. In the list of human vices 
we find some of such a refined constitution, they cannot bo 
carried into practice without seducing some virtue to theii 
assistance ; but meanness hath neither alliance nor apology. 
It is generated in the dust and sweepings of other vices, and 



IHE CRISIS. 



is of such a hateful figure that all the rest conspire to disown 
it. Sir William, the commissioner of George the third, hath 
at last vouchsafed to give it rank and pedigree. He has 
placed the fugitive at the council board, and dubbed it com- 
panion of the order of knighthood. 

The particular act of meanness which I allude to in this 
description, is forgery. You, sir, have abetted and patronized 
the forging and uttering counterfeit continental bills. In 
the same JNew-York newspapers in which your own pro- 
clamation under your master's authority was published, 
offering, or pretending to offer, pardon and protection to 
these states, there were repeated advertisements of counter- 
feit money for sale, and persons who have come officially 
from you, and under the sanction of your flag, have been 
taken up in attempting to put them off 

A conduct so basely mean in a public character is with- 
out precedent or pretence. Every nation on earth, whether 
friends or enemies, will unite in despising you. "lis an in- 
cendiary war upon society, which nothing can excuse or 
palliate. An improvement upon beggarly villany and 
shows an imbred wretchedness of heart made up between 
the venomous malignity of a serpent and a spiteful im- 
becility of an inferior reptile. 

The laws of any civilized country would condemn you to 
the gibbet without regard to your rank or titles, because it 
is an action foreign to the usage and custom of war ; and 
should you fall into our hands, which pray God you may, it 
will be a doubtful matter whether we are to consider you 
as a military prisoner or a prisoner for felony. 

Besides, it is exceedingly unwise and impolitic in you, or 
any other person in the English service, to promote or even 
encourage, or wink at the crime of forgery, in any case 
whatever. Because, as the riches of England, as a nation, 
are chiefly in paper, and the far greater part of trade among 
individuals is carried on by the same medium, that is, by 
notes and drafts on one another, they, therefore, of all 
people in the world, ought to endeavour to keep forgery out 
of sight, and, if possible, not to revive the idea of it. It is 
dangerous to make men familiar with a crime which they 
may afterwards practise to much greater advantage against 
those who first taught them. Several officers in the English 
army have made their exit at the gallows for forgery on 
their agents; for we all know, who know any tiling of 
England, that there is not a more necessitous body of men, 



THE CRISIS. 61 

taking them generally, than what the English officers are 
They contrive to make a show at the expense of the tailors, 
and appear clean at the charge of the washer-women. 

England hath, at this time, nearly two hundred million 
pounds sterling of public money in paper, for which she 
hath no real property : besides a large circulation of bank 
notes, bank post bills, and promissory notes and drafts of 
private bankers, merchants and tradesmen. She hath the 
greatest quantity of paper currency and the least quantity 
of gold and silver of any nation in Europe ; the real specie 
which is about sixteen millions sterling, serves only as change 
in large sums, which are always made in paper, or for pay- 
ment m small ones. Thus circumstanced, the nation is put 
to its wit's end, and obliged to be severe almost to crimi- 
nality, to prevent the practice and growth .of forgery. 
Scarcely a session passes at the Old Bailey, or an execution 
at Tyburn, but witnesseth this truth, yet you, sir, regardless 
of the policy wnich her necessity obliges ner to adopt, have 
made your whole army intimate with the crime. And as all 
armies, at the conclusion of a war, are too apt to carry into 
practice the vices of the campaign, it will probably happen, 
that England will hereafter abound in forgeries, to which 
art, the practitioners were first initiated under your autho- 
rity in America. You, sir, have the honor of adding a new 
vice to the military catalogue ; and the reason, perhaps, 
why the invention was reserved for you, is, because no 
general before was mean enough ever to think of it. 

That a man, whose soul is absorbed in the low traffic of 
vulgar vice, is incapable of moving in any superior region, 
is clearly shown in you by the event of every campaign. 
Your military exploits have been without plan, object, or 
decision. Can it be possible that you or your employers 
suppose that the possession of Philadelphia will be any 
ways equal to the expense or expectation of the nation 
which supports you ? What advantages does England de- 
rive from any achievement of yours ? To her it is perfectly 
indifferent what place you are in, so long as the business 
of conquest is unperformed and the charge of maintaining 
you remains the same. 

If the principal events of the three campaigns be attended 

to, the balance will appear against you at the close of each ; 

but the last, in point of importance to us, has exceeded the 

former two. It is pleasant to look back on dangers past, 

nd equally as pleasant to meditate on present ones when 



62 THE CRISIS. 

the way out begins to appear. That period is now arrived, 
and the long doubtful winter of war is changing to the 
sweeter prospects of victory and joy. At the close of the 
campaign, in 1775, you were obliged to retreat from Boston. 
In the summer of 1776, you appeared with a numerous fleet 
and army in the harbor of New-York. By what miracle 
the continent was preserved in that season of danger is a 
subject of admiration! If instead of wasting your time 
against Long-Island, you had run up the North river, and 
landed any where above New- York, the consequence must 
have been, that either you would have compelled general 
Washington to fight you with very unequal numbers, or he 
must suddenly have evacuated tne city with the loss of 
nearly all the stores of his army, or have surrendered for 
want of provisions ; the situation of the place naturally pro- 
ducing one or the other of these events. 

The preparations made to defend New- York were, never- 
theless, wise and military ; because your fordfes were then at 
sea, their numbers uncertain ; storms, sickness, or a variety 
of accidents might have disabled their coming, or so dimi- 
nished them on their passage, that those which survived 
would have been incapable of opening the campaign with 
any prospect of success ; in which case the defence would 
have been sufficient and the place preserved : for cities that 
have been raised from nothing with an infinitude of labor 
and expense, are not to be thrown away on the bare proba- 
bility of their being taken. On these grounds the prepara- 
tions made to maintain New- York were as judicious as the 
retreat afterwards. While you, in the interim, let slip the very 
opportunity which seemed to put conquest in your power. 

Through the whole of that campaign you had nearly dou- 
ble the forces which general Washington immediately com- 
manded. The principal plan at that time, on our part, was 
to wear away the season with as little loss as possible, and 
to raise the army for the next year. Long-Island, New- 
York, forts Washington and Lee were not defended after 
your superior force was known, under any expectation of 
their being finally maintained, but as a range of outworks, 
in the attacking of which your time might be wasted, your 
numbers reduced, and your vanity amused by possessing 
them on our retreat. It was intended to have withdrawn the 
garrison from fort Washington after it had answered the for- 
mer of those purposes, but the fate of that day put a prize 
nto your hands without much honor to yourselves. 



THE CBI8I8. 6A 

Your progress through the Jerseys was accidental ; you 
had it not even in contemplation, or you would not have 
sent a principal part of your forces to Rhode-Isand before 
hand. The utmost hope of America in the year 1776, 
reached no higher than that she might not then be con- 
quered. She had no expectation of defeating you in that 
campaign. Even the most cowardly tory allowed, that, 
could she withstand the shock of that summer her indepen- 
dence would be past a doubt. You had then greatly the 
advantage of her. You were formidable. Your military 
knowledge was supposed to be complete. Your fleets and 
forces arrived without an accident. You had neither expe- 
rience nor reinforcements to wait for. You Lad nothing to 
do but to begin, and your chance lay in the first vigorous 
onset. 

America was young and unskilled. She was obliged to 
trust her defence ^to time and practice ; and hath, by mere 
dint of perseverance, maintained her cause, and brought the 
enemy to a condition, in which she is now capable of meet- 
ing him on any grounds. 

It is remarkable that in the campaign of 1776, you gained 
no more, notwithstanding your great force, than what was 
given you by consent of evacuation, except fort Washing- 
ton ; while every advantage obtained by us was by fair and 
hard fighting. The defeat of Sir Peter Parker was com- 
plete. The conquest of the Hessians at Trenton, by the re- 
mains of a retreating army, which but a few days before 
you affected to despise, is an instance of their heroic perse- 
verance very seldom to be met with. And the victory over 
the British troops at Princeton, by a harassed and weary 
party, who had been engaged the day before and marched 
all night without refreshment, is attended with such a scene 
of circumstances and superiority of generalship, as will ever 
give it a place in the first rank in the history of great ac- 
tions. 

When I look back on the gloomy days of last winter, and 
see America suspended by a thread, I feel a triumph of joy 
at the recollection of her delivery, and -a reverence for the 
characters which snatched her from destruction. To doubt 
now would be a species of infidelity, and to forget the in- 
struments which saved us then would be ingratitude. 

The close of that campaign left us with the spirit of con- 
querors. The northern districts were relieved by the 
retreat of general Carleton over the lakes. The army undei 



64 THE CRISIS. 

your command were hunted back and had their bounds pre- 
scribed. The continent began to feel its military import- 
ance, and the winter passed pleasantly away in preparations 
for the next campaign. 

However confident you might be on your first arrival, the 
result of the year 1776 gave you some idea of the difficulty, 
if not impossibility of conquest. To this reason I ascribe 
your delay in opening the campaign of 1777. The face of 
matters, on the close of the former year, gave you no 
encouragement to pursue a discretionary war as soon as the 
spring admitted the taking the field ; tor though conquest, 
ia that case, would have given you a double portion of fame, 
yet the experiment was too hazardous. The ministry, had 
you failed, would have shifted the whole blame upon you, 
charged you with having acted without orders, and con 
demned at once both your plan and execution. 

To avoid the misfortunes, which might have involved you 
and your money accounts in perplexity and suspicion, you 
prudently waited the arrival of a plan of operations from 
England, which was that you should proceed to Philadelphia 
by way of the Chesapeake, and that Burgoyne, after reduc- 
ing Ticonderoga, should take his rout by Albany, and, if 
necessary, join you. 

The splendid laurels of the last campaign have flourished 
in the north. In that quarter America nas surprised the 
world, and laid the foundation of this year's glory. The 
conquest of Ticonderoga, (if it may be called a conquest) 
has, like all your other victories, led on to ruin. Even the 
provisions taken in that fortress (which by general Bur- 
goyne's return was sufficient in bread and flour for nearly 
5000 men for ten weeks, and in beef and pork for the same 
number of men for one month) served only to hasten his 
overthrow, by enabling him to proceed to Saratoga, the 
place of his destruction. A short review of the operations 
of the last campaign will show the condition of affairs on 
ooth sides. 

You have taken Ticonderoga and marched into Philadel- 
phia. These are all the events which the year hath pro- 
duced on your part. A trifling campaign indeed, compared 
with the expenses of England and the conquest of the con- 
tinent. On the other side, a considerable part of vour 
northern force has been routed by the New- York militia 
under general Herkerner. Fort Stanwix has bravely sur- 
vived a compound attack of soldiers and savages, and the 



THE CRISIS 05 

besiegers have fled. The battle of Bennington has put a 
thousand prisoners into our hands, with all their arms, stores, 
artillery and baggage. General Burgoyne, in two engage- 
ments, has been defeated ; himself, his army, and all that 
were his and theirs are now ours. Ticonderoga and Inde- 
pendence are retaken, and not the shadow of an enemy 
remains in all the northern districts. At this instant we 
have upwards of eleven thousand prisoners, between sixty 
and seventy pieces of brass ordnance, besides small arms, 
tents, stores, <xc. 

In order to know the real value of those advantages, we 
must reverse the scene, and suppose general Gates and the 
force he commanded, to be at your mercy as prisoners, and 
general Burgoyne, with his army of soldiers and savages, to 
be already jojned to you in Pennsylvania. So dismal a 
picture can scarcely be looked at. It has all the tracings 
and colorings of horror and despair ; and excites the most 
swelling emotions of gratitude, by exhibiting the miseries 
we are so graciously preserved from. 

I admire the distribution of laurels around the continent. 
It is the earnest of future union. South-Carolina has had 
her day of sufferings and of fame ; and the other southern 
states have exerted themselves in proportion to the force 
that invaded or insulted them. Towards the close of the 
campaign, in 1776, these middle states were called upon 
and did their duty nobly. They were witnesses to the 
almost expiring flame of human freedom. It was the close 
struggle of life and death. The line of invisible division : 
and on which, the unabated fortitude of a Washington pre- 
vailed, and saved the spark that has since blazed in the 
north with unrivalled lustre. 

Let me ask, sir, what great exploits have you performed ? 
Through all the variety of changes and opportunities which 
the war has produced, I know no one action of yours that 
can be styled masterly. You have moved in and out, back- 
wards and forwards, round and round, as if valor consisted 
a military jig. The history and figure of your movements 
would be truly ridiculous could they be justly delineated. 
They resemble the labours of a puppy pursuing his tail ; the 
end is still at the same distance, and all the turnings round 
must be done over again. 

The first appearance of affairs of Ticonderoga wore such 
an unpromising aspect, that it was necessary, in July, to 
detach a part of the forces to the support of that quarter, 



66 THE CRISIS. 

which were otherwise destined or intended to act against 
you ; and this, perhaps, has been the means of postponing 
your downfall to another campaign. The destruction of 
one army at a time is work enough. We know, sir, what 
we are about, what we have to do, and how to do it. 

Your progress from the Chesapeake, was marked by no 
capital stroke of policy or heroism. Your principal aim 
was to get general Washington between the Delaware and 
Schuylkill, and between Philadelphia and your army. In 
that situation, with a river on each side of his flanks, 
.which united about five miles below the city, and your 
army above him, you could have intercepted his reinforce- 
ments and supplies, cut off all his communications with the 
country, and, if necessary, have despatched assistance to 
open a passage for general Burgoyne. This scheme was too 
visible to succeed: for had general Washington suffered 
you to command the open country above him, I think it a 
very reasonable conjecture that the conquest of Burgoyne 
would not have taken place, because you could, in that case, 
have relieved him. It was therefore necessary, while that 
important victory was in suspense, to trepan you into a 
situation in which you could only be on the defensive, with- 
out the power of affording him assistanse. The manoeuvre 
had its effect, and Burgoyne was conquered. 

There has been something unmilitary and passive in you 
from the time of your passing the Schuylkill and getting 
possession of Philadelphia, to the close of the campaign. 
You mistook a trap for a conquest, the probability of which 
had been made known to Europe, and the edge of your 
triumph taken off by your own information long before. 

Having got you into this situation, a scheme for a general 
attack upon you at Germantown was carried into execution 
on the 4th of October, and though the success was not equal 
to the excellence of the plan, yet the attempting it proved 
the genius of America to be on the rise, and her power 
approaching to superiority. The obscurity of the morning 
was your best friend, for a fog is always favorable to a 
hunted enemy. Some weeks after this you likewise planned 
an attack on general Washington, while at WhHemarsh. 
You marched out with infinite parade, but on finding 
him preparing to attack you next morning, you prudently 
turned about, and retreated to Philadelphia with all the 
precipitation of a man conquered in imagination. 

Immediately after the battle of Germantown, the pro 



THE CRISIS. 67 

bability of Burgoyne's defeat gave a new policy to affairs 
in Pennsylvania, and it was judged most consistent with 
tlie general safety of America, to wait the issue of the 
northern campaign. Slow and sure is sound work. The 
news of that victory arrived in our camp on the 18th of 
October, and no sooner did the shout of joy, and the report 
of the thirteen cannon reach your ears, than you resolved 
upon a retreat, and the next day, that is, the 19th,you with- 
drew your drooping army into Philadelphia. This move- 
ment was evidently dictated by fear ; and carried with it a 
positive confession that you dreaded a second attack. It was 
hiding yourself among women and children, and sleeping 
away the choicest part of a campaign in expensive in- 
activity. An army in a city can never be a conquering 
army. The situation admits only of defence. It is mere 
shelter : and every military power in Europe will conclude 
you to be eventually defeated. 

The time when you made this retreat was the very time 
vou ought to have fought a battle, in order to put yoursell 
in a condition of recovering in Pennsylvania what you had 
lost in Saratoga. And the reason wny you did not, must 
be either prudence or cowardice ; the former supposes your 
inability, and the latter needs no explanation. I draw no 
conclusions, sir, but such as are naturally deduced from 
known and visible facts, and such as will always have a 
being while the facts which produced them remain un- 
altered. 

After this retreat a new difficulty arose which exhibited 
the power of Britain in a very contemptible light ; which 
was the attack and defence of Mud-Island. For several weeks 
did that little unfinished fortress stand out against all the 
attempts of admiral and general Howe. It was the fable 
of Bender realized on the Delaware. Scheme after scheme, 
and force upon force were tried and defeated. The garrison, 
with scarce any thing to cover them but their bravery, sur 
vived in the midst of mud, shot and shells, and were at last 
obliged to give it up more to the powers of time and gun- 
powder than to military superiority of the besiegers. 

It is my sincere opinion tliat matters are in a much worse 
condition with you than what is generally known. Your 
master's speech at the opening of parliament, is like a 
soliloquy on ill luck. It shows him to be coming a little to 
his reason, for sense of pain is the first symptom of recovery 
in profound stupefaction. His condition is deplorable. II 



68 THE CRISIS. 

is obliged to submit to all the insults of France and Spain, 
without daring to know or resent them ; and thankful for 
the most trivial evasions to the most humble remonstrances. 
The time was when he could not deign an answer to a 
petition from America, and the time now is when he dare 
not give an answer to an affront from France. The capture 
of Burgoyne's army will sink his consequence as much in 
Europe as in America. In his speech he expresses his suspi- 
cions at the warlike preparations of France and Spain, and as 
he has only the one army which you command to support his 
character in the world with, it remains very uncertain when, 
or in what quarter it will be most wanted, or can be best 
employed ; and this will partly account for the great care 
you take to keep it from action and attacks, for should 
Burgoyne's fate be yours, which it probably will, England 
may take her endless farewell not only of all America but 
of all the West-Indies. 

Never did a nation invite destruction upon itself with the 
eagerness and the ignorance with which Britain has done. 
Bent upon the ruin of a young and unoffending country, she 
has drawn the sword that has wounded herself to the heart, 
and in the agony of her resentment has applied a poison for 
a cure. Her conduct towards America is a compound of 
rage and lunacy ; she aims at the government of it, yet 
preserves neither dignity nor character in her methods to 
obtain it. Were government a mere manufacture or article 
of commerce, immaterial by whom it should be made or 
sold, we might as well employ her as another, but when we 
consider it as the fountain from whence the general manners 
and morality of a country take their rise, tnat the persons 
intrusted with the execution thereof are by their serious 
example and authority to support these principles, how 
abominably absurd is the idea of being hereafter governed 
by a set of men who have been guilty of forgery, perjury, 
treachery, theft, and every species of villany which the lowest 
wretches on earth could practise or invent. What greater 
public curse can befal any country than to be under such 
authority, and what greater blessing than to be delivered 
therefrom. The soul of any man of sentiment would rise in 
brave rebellion against them, and spurn them from the earth. 

The malignant and venomous tempered general Yaughan 
has amused his savage fancy in burning the whole town of 
Kingston, in York government, and the late governor of 
that state, Mr. Tyron, in his letter to general Parsons, has 



TUB CRISIS. ',.) 

endeavoured to justify it, and declared his wish to burn the 
houses of every committeeman in the country. Such a con- 
fession from one who was once intrusted witn the powers of 
civil government, is a reproach to the character. But it is 
the wish and the declaration of a man, whom anguish and 
disappointment have driven to despair, and who is daily 
decaying into the grave with constitutional rottenness. 

There is not in the compass of language a sufficiency of 
words to express the baseness of your king, his ministry and 
his army. They have refined upon villany till it wants a 
name. To the fiercer vices of former ages they have added 
the dregs and scummings of the most finished rascality, and 
are so completely sunk in serpentine deceit, that there is not 
left among them one generous enemy. 

From such men and such masters, may the gracious hand 
of Heaven preserve America ! And though the sufferings 
she now enaures are heavy, and severe, they are like straws 
in the wind compared to the weight of evils she would feel 
under the government of your king, and his pensioned 
parliament. 

There is something in meanness which excites a species of 
resentment that never subsides, and something in cruelty 
which stirs up the heart to the highest agony of human 
hatred ; Britain hath filled up both these characters till no 
addition can be made, and hath not reputation left with us 
to obtain credit for the slightest promise. The will of God 
hath parted us, and the deed is registered for eternity. 
When she shall be a spot scarcely visible among the nations, 
America shall flourish the favorite of heaven, and the friend 
of mankind. 

For the domestic happiness of Britain and the peace of 
the world, I wish she had not a foot of land but what is 
circumscribed within her own island. Extent of dominion 
lias been her ruin, and instead of civilizing others has bru- 
talized herself. Her late reduction of India, under Olive and 
his successors, was not so properly a conquest as an extermi 
nation of mankind. She is the only power who could 
practise the prodigal barbarity of tying men to the mouths 
of loaded cannon and blowing them away. It happens that 
general Burgoyne, who made the report of that horrid 
"ransaction, in the house of commons, is now a prisoner with 
iis, and though an enemy, I can appeal to him for the truth 
of it, being confident that he neither can nor will deny it 
Yot Clivc received the approbation of the last parliament. 



70 THE CRISIS. 

When we take a survey of mankind, we cannot heljD 
cursing the wretch, who, to the unavoidable misfortunes oi 
nature, shall wilfully add the calamities of war. One would 
think there were evils enough in the world without studying 
to increase them, and that life is sufficiently short without 
shaking the sand that measures it. The histories of Alex- 
ander, and Charles of Sweden, are the histories of human 
devils ; a good man cannot think of their actions without 
abhorrence, nor of their deaths without rejoicing. To see 
the bounties of heaven destroyed, the beautiful face of 
nature laid waste, and the choicest works of creation and 
art tumbled into ruin, would fetch a curse from the soul of 
piety itself. But in this country the aggravation is height- 
ened by a new combination of affecting circumstances. 
America wa 5 * young, and, compared with other countries, 
was virtuous. _^one but a Herod of uncommon malice 
would have made V.T upon infancy and innocence: and 
none but a people of the iiiost finished fortitude, dared under 
those circumstances, have resisted the tyranny. The natives, 
or their ancestors, had fled from the former oppressions of 
England, and with the industry of bees had changed a wil- 
derness into a habitable world. To Britain they were 
indebted for nothing. The country was the gift of heaven, 
and God alone is their Lord and Sovereign. 

The time, sir, will come when you, in a melancholy houi, 
shall reckon up your miseries by your murders in America. 
Life, with you, begins to wear a clouded aspect. The vision 
of pleasurable delusion is wearing away, and changing to 
the barren wild of age and sorrow. The poor reflection of 
having served your king will yield you no consolation in 
your parting moments. He will crumble to the same undis- 
tinguished ashes with yourself, and have sins enough of his 
own to answer for. It is not the farcial benedictions of a 
bishop, nor the cringing hypocrisy of a court of chaplains, 
nor the formality of an act of parliament, that can change 
guilt into innocence, or make the punishment one pang the 
less. You may, perhaps, be unwilling to be serious, but this 
destruction of the goo.ds of Providence, this havoc of the 
human race, and this sowing the world with mischief, must 
be accounted for to him who made and governs it. To us 
they are only present sufferings, but to him they are deep 
rebellions. 

If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of wilful 

/% f 

and offensive wa"r. Most other sins are circumscribed withiu 



THE CRISIS. 71 

narrow limits, that is, the power of one man cannot give 
them a very general extension, and many kinds of sins have 
only a mental existence from which no infection arises ; but 
he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion 
of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death. W^e 
leave it to England and Indians to boast of these honors ; 
we feel no thirst for such savage glory ; a nobler fame, a 
purer spirit animates America. She has taken up the sword 
of virtuous defence ; she has bravely put herself between 
Tyranny and Freedom, between a curse and a blessing, 
determined to expel the one and protect the other. 

It is the object only of war mat makes it honourable. 
Aid if there was ever a just war since the world began, it 
is this in which America is now engaged. She invaded no 
land of yours. She hired no mercenaries to burn your 
towns, nor Indians to massacre their inhabitants. She 
wanted nothing from you, and was indebted for nothing to 
you : and thus circumstanced, her defence is honorable and 
herposterity is certain. 

Yet it is not on the justice only, but likewise on the 
importance of this cause that I ground my seeming enthusi- 
astical confidence of our success. The vast extension of 
America makes her of too much value in the scale of Provi- 
dence, to be cast, like a pearl before swine, at the feet of an 
European island ; and of much less consequence would it be 
that Britain were sunk in the sea than that America should 
miscarry. There has been such a chain of extraordinary 
events in the discovery of this country at first, in the peop- 
ling and planting it afterwards, in the rearing and nursing 
it to its present state, and in the protection of it through the 
present war, that no man can doubt, but Providence hath 
some nobler end to accomplish, than the gratification of the 
petty elector of Hanover, or the ignorant and insignificant 
ting of Britain. 

As the blood of the martyrs hath been the seed of ^he 
Christian church, so the political persecutions of England 
will and has already enriched America with industry, 
experience, union, and importance. Before the present era 
she was a mere cilaos of uncemented colonies, individually 
exposed to the ravages of the Indians and the invasion oi 
any power that Britain should be at war with. She had 
nothing that she could call her own. Her felicity depended 
upon accident. The convulsions of Europe might have 
thrown her from one conqueror to another, till she nad boon 



72 THE CRISIS. 

the slave of all, and ruined by every one ; for until she had 
spirit enough to become her own master, there was no 
knowing to which master she should belong. That period, 
thank God, is past, and she is no longer the dependant, dis- 
united colonies of Britain, but the Independent and United 
States of America, knowing no master but heaven and her- 
self. You, or your king, may call this " delusion," " rebel- 
lion," or what name you please. To us it is perfectly 
indifferent. The issue will determine the character, and 
time will give it a name as lasting as his own. 

You have now, sir, tried the fate of three campaigns, and 
can fully declare to England, that nothing is to be got on 
your part, but blows and broken bones, and nothing on hers 
but waste of trade and credit, and an increase of poverty 
and taxes. You are now only where you might have been 
two years ago, without the loss of a single ship, and yet not 
a step more forward towards the conquest of the continent ; 
because, as I have already hinted, " an army in a city can 
never be a conquering army." The full amount of your 
losses, since the beginning of the war, exceeds twenty 
thousand men, besides millions of treasure, for which you 
have nothing in exchange. Our expenses, though great, 
are circulated within ourselves. Yours is a direct sinking of 
money, and that from both ends at once ; first, in hiring 
troops out of the nation, and in paying them afterwards, 
because the money in neither case can return to Britain. 
We are already in possession of the prize, you only in 
pursuit of it. To us it is a real treasure, to you it would be 
only an empty triumph. Our expenses will repay them- 
selves with tenfold interest, while yours entail upon you 
everlasting poverty. 

Take a review, sir, of the ground which you have gone 
over, and let it teach you policy, if it cannot honesty. You 
stand but on a very tottering foundation. A change of the 
ministry in England may probably bring your measures 
into question, and your head to the block. Olive, with all 
his successes, had some difficulty in escaping, and youre 
being all a war of losses, will afford you less pretensions, 
and your enemies more grounds for impeachment. 

Go home, sir, and endeavour to save the remains of your 
ruined country, by a just representation of the madness of 
her measures. A few moments, well applied, may yet 
preserve her from political destruction. I am not one of 
those who wish to see Euro IT i.-i & flame, because I am 



THE CRISIS. 78 

persuaded that such an event will not shorten the war. The 
rupture, at present, is confined between the two powers of 
America and England. England finds that she cannot 
conquer America, and America has no wish to conquer 
England. You are fighting for what you can never obtain, 
and we are defending what we never mean to part with. A 
few words, therefore, settle the bargain. Let England mind 
her own business and we will mind ours. Govern your- 
selves, and we will govern ourselves. You may then trade 
where you please unmolested by us, and we will trade where 
we please unmolested by you ; and such articles as we can 
purchase of each other better than elsewhere may be 
mutually done. If it were possible that you could carry on 
the war for twenty years you must still come to this point 
at last, or worse, and the sooner you think of it the better i* 
will be for you. 

My official situation enables me to know the repeated 
insults which Britain is obliged to put up with from foreign 
powers, and the wretched shifts that she is driven to, to gloss 
them over. Her reduced strength and exhausted coffers in 
a three years' war with America, hath given a powerful 
superiority to France and Spain. She is not now a match 
for them. But if neither councils can prevail on her to 
think, nor sufferings awaken her to reason, she must e'en go 
on, till the honour of England becomes a proverb of con- 
tempt, and Europe dub her the Land of Fools. 

I am, Sir, with every wish for an honourable peace, 
Your friend, enemy, and countryman, 

(JOMMON SENSE. 

TO THE INHABITANTS OF AMERICA. 

WITH all the pleasure with which a man exchanges baa 
company for good, I take my leave of Sir William ana return 
to you. It is now nearly three years since the tyranny of 
Britain received its first repulse by the arms of America. 
A perio I which has given birth to a new world, and erected 
a monument to the folly of the old. 

I cannot help being sometimes surprised at the compli- 
mentary references which I have seen and heard made to 
ancient histories and transactions. The wisdom, civil gov- 
ernments, and sense of honor of the states of Greece and 
Rome, are frequently held up as objects of excellence and 
imitation. Mankind have lived to very little purpose, if, at 



THE CRISIS. 



this period of the world, they must go two or three thousand 
years back for lessons and examples. We do ^reat injustice 
to ourselves by placing them in such a superior line. We 
have no just authority for it, neither can we tell why it is- 
that we should suppose ourselves inferior. 

Could the mist of antiquity be cleared away, and men and 
things be viewed as they really were, it is more than proba- 
ble that they would admire us, rather than we them. America 
has surmounted a greater variety and combination of diffi- 
culties, than, I believe, ever fell to the share of any one 
people, in the same space of time, and has replenished the 
world with more useful knowledge and sounder maxims of 
civil government than were ever produced in any age before. 

Had it not been for America, there had been no such 
thing as freedom left throughout the whole universe. Eng- 
land hath lost hers in a long chain of right reasoning from 
wrong principles, and it is from this country, now, that she 
must learn the resolution to redress herself, and the wisdom 
how to accomplish it. 

The Grecians and Romans were strongly possessed of the 
spirit of liberty but not the principle, K>r at the time that 
they were determined not to be slaves themselves, they 
employed their power to enslave the rest of mankind. But 
this distinguished era is blotted by no one misanthropical 
vice. In short, if the principle on which the cause is found- 
ed, the universal blessings that are to arise from it, the diffi- 
culties that accompanied it, the wisdom with which it has 
been debated, the fortitude by which it has been supported, 
the strength of the power which we had to oppose, and the 
condition in which we undertook it, be all taken in one view, 
we may justly style it the most virtuous and illustrious revo- 
lution that ever graced the history of mankind. 

A good opinion of ourselves is exceedingly necessary in 
private life, but absolutely necessary in public life, and of 
the utmost importance in supporting national character. I 
have no notion of yielding the palm of the United 3tates to 
any Grecians or Romans that were ever born. We have 
equalled the bravest in times of danger, and excelled the 
wisest *in construction of civil governments. 

From this agreeable eminence let us take a review of 
present affairs. The spirit of corruption is so inseparably 
interwoven with British politics, that their ministry suppose 
all mankind are governed by the same motives. They have 
no idea of a people submitting even to temporary inconve- 



THE CRISIS. 75 

nience from an attachment to rights and privileges. Theii 
plans of business are calculated try the hour and/ar the hour, 
and are uniform in nothing but the corruption which gives 
them birth. They never had, neither have they at this time, 
any regular plan for the conquest of America by arms. They 
known not now to go about it, neither have they power to 
effect it if they did know. The thing is not within the com- 
pass of human practicability, for America is too extensive 
either to be fully conquered or passively defended. But she 
may be actively defended by defeating or making prisoners 
of the army that invades her. And mis is the only system 
of defence that can be effectual in a large country. 

There is something in a war carried on by invasion which 
makes it differ in circumstances from any other mode of 
war, because he who conducts it cannot tell whether the 
ground he gains be for him, or against him, when he first 
f btains it. In the winter of 1776, general Howe marched 
with an air of victory through the Jerseys, the consequence 
of which was his defeat ; and general Burgoyne at Saratoga 
experienced the same fate from the same cause. The Span- 
iards, about two years ago, were defeated by the Algerines 
in the same manner, that is, their first triumphs became a trap 
in which they were totally routed. And whoever will attend 
to the circumstances and events of a war carried on by 
invasion, will find, that any invader, in order to be finally 
conquered must first begin to conquer. 

I confess myself one of those who believe the loss of Phila- 
delphia to be attended with more advantages than injuries. 
The case stood thus : The enemy imagined Philadelphia to 
be of more importance to us than it really was ; for we all 
know that it had long ceased to be a port ; not a cargo of 
goods had been brought into it for near a twelvemonth, nor 
any fixed manufactories, nor even ship-building, carried on 
in it ; yet as the enemy believed the conquest of it to be 
practicable, and to that belief added the absurd idea that 
the soul of all America was centred there, and would be 
conquered there, it naturally follows that their possession of 
it, by not answering the end proposed, must break up the 
plans they had so foolishly gone upon, and either oblige 
them to form a new one, for which tneir present strength ig 
not sufficient, or to give over the attempt. 

We never had so small an army to fight against, nor so 
fair an opportunity of final success as now. The death 
wound is already given. The day is ours if we follow it up 



76 THE CRISIS. 

The enemy, by his situation, is within our reach, and by his 
reduced strength is within our power. The ministers of 
Britain may rage as they please, but our part is to conquer 
their armies. Let them wrangle and welcome, but let it 
not draw our attention from the one thing needful. Here y 
in this spot is our own business to be accomplished, our felicity 
secured. What we have now to do is as clear as light, and 
the way to do it is as straight as a line. It needs not to be 
commented upon, yet, in order to be perfectly understood I 
will put a case that cannot admit of a mistake. 

Had the armies under generals Howe and Burgoyne been 
united, and taken post at Germantown, and had the north- 
ern army under general Gates been joined to that under 
feueral Washington, at Whitemarsh, the consequence would 
ave been a general action ; and if in that action we had 
killed and taken the same number of officers and men, that 
is, between nine and ten thousand, with the same quantity 
of artillery, arms, stores, etc. as have been taken at the 
northward, and obliged general Howe with the remains of 
his army, that is, with the same number he now commands, 
to take shelter in Philadelphia, we should certainly have 
thought ourselves the greatest heroes in the world ; and 
should, as soon as the season permitted, have collected 
together all the force of the continent and laid siege to the 
city, for it requires a much greater force to besiege an enemy 
in a town than to defeat him in the field. The case now is 
just the same as if it had been produced by the means I 
nave here supposed. Between nine and ten thousand have 
been killed and taken, all their stores are in our possession, and 

general Howe, in consequence of that victory, has thrown 
imself for shelter into Philadelphia. He, or his trifling friend 
Galloway, may form what pretences they please, yet no just 
reason can be given for their going into winter quarters so 
early as the 19th of October, but their apprehensions of a 
defeat if they continued out, or their conscious inability of 
keeping the field with safety. I see no advantage which can 
arise to America by hunting the enemy from state to state. 
It is a triumph without a prize, and wholly unworthy the 
attention of a people determined to conquer. Neither can 
any state promise itself security while the enemy remains 
in a condition to transport themselves from one part of the 
continent to another. Howe, likewise, cannot conquer where 
we have no army to oppose, therefore any such removals in 
him are mean and cowardly, and reduces Britain to a 



THE CRISIS. 77 

common pilferer. If he retreats from Philadelphia, he will 
be despised ; if he stays, he may be shut up ana starved out, 
and the country, if he adyances into it, may become his 
Saratoga. He has his choice of evils and we of opportuni- 
ties. & he moves early, it is not only a sign but a proof 
that he expects no reinforcement, and nis delay will provo 
that he either waits for the arrival of a plan to go upon, or 
force to execute it, or both ; in which case our strength will 
increase more than his, therefore in any case we cannot be 
wrong if we do but proceed. 

The particular condition of Pennsylvania deserves the 
attention of all the other states. Her military strength must 
not be estimated by the number of inhabitants. Here are 
men of all nations, characters, professions and interests. 
Here are the firmest whigs, surviving, like sparks in the 
ocean, unquenched and uncooled in the midst 01 discourage- 
ment and disaffection. Here are men losing their all with 
cheerfulness, and collecting fire and fortitude from the flames 
of their own estates. Here are others skulking in secret, 
many making a market of the times, and numbers who are 
changing to whig or tory with the circumstances of every 
day. 

it is by mere dint of fortitude and perseverance that the 
whigs of this state have been able to maintain so good a 
countenance, and do even what they have done. 'We want 
help, and the sooner it can arrive the more effectual it will 
be. The invaded state, be it which it may, will always feel 
an additional burden upon its back, and be hard set to sup- 
port its civil power witn sufficient authority : and this dlf- 
nculty will rise or fall, in proportion as the other states 
throw in their assistance to the common caase. 

The enemy will most probably make many manoeuvres at 
the opening of this campaign, to amuse and draw off the 
attention of the several states from the one thing needful. 
"We may expect to hear of alarms and pretended expeditions 
to this place and that place, to the southward, the eastward, 
and the northward, all intended to prevent our forming into 
one formidable body. The less the enemy's strength is, the 
more subtleties of this kind will they make use of. Their 
existence depends upon it, because the force of America, 
when collected, is sufficient to swallow their present army 
up. It is therefore our business to make short work of it, 
by bending our whole attention to this one principal point, 
for the instant that the main body under general Howe is 



T8 THE CRISIS. 

defeated, all the inferior alarms throughout the continent, 
like so many shadows, will follow his downfall. 

The only way to finish a war with the least possible 
bloodshed, or perhaps without any, is to collect an army, 
against the power of which the enemy shall have no chance. 
By not doing this, we prolong the war, and double both the 
calamities and expenses of it. What a rich and happy 
country would America be, were she, by a vigorous exer- 
tion, to reduce Howe as she has reduced Burgoyne. Her 
currency would rise to millions beyond its present value. 
Every man would be rich, and every man would have it in 
his power to be happy. And why not do these things ? 
What is there to hinder ? America is her own mistress, and 
can do what she pleases. 

If we had not at this time a man in the field, we could, 
nevertheless, raise an army in a few weeks sufficient to over- 
whelm all the force which general Howe at present com- 
mands. Vigor and determination will do any thing and 
every thing. We began the war with this kind of spirit, 
why not end it with the same ? Here, gentlemen, is the 
enemy. Here is the army. The interest, the happiness of 
all America, is centred in this half ruined spot. Come and 
help us. Here are laurels, come and share them. Here are 
tones, come and help us to expel them. Here are whigs 
that will make you welcome, and enemies that dread your 
coming. 

The worst of all policy is that of doing things by halves. 
Penny wise and pound foolish, has been the ruin of thou- 
sands. The present spring, if rightly improved, will free us 
from all troubles, and save us the expense of millions. We 
have now only one army to cope with. No opportunity can 
be fairer ; no prospect more promising. I shall conclude 
this paper with a few outlines of a plan, either for filling up 
the battalions with expedition, or for raising an additional 
force, for any limited time, on any sudden emergency. 

That in which every man is interested, is every man's 
duty to support. And any burden which falls equally on 
all men, and from which every man is to receive an equal 
benefit, is consistent with the most perfect ideas of liberty. 
I would wish to revive something of that virtuous ambition 
which first called America into the field. Then every man 
was eager to do his part, and perhaps the principal reason 
why we have in any degree fallen therefrom, is, because we 
did not set a right value by it at first, but left it to blaze 



THE CRISIS. 79 

out of itself, instead of regulating and preserving it by just 
proportions of rest and service. 

Suppose any state whose numbr of effective inhabitants 
was 80,000, should be required to furnish 3,200 men towards 
the defence of the continent on any sudden emergency. 

1st, Let the whole number of effective inhabitants be 
divided into hundreds ; then if each of those hundreds turn 
out four men, the whole number of 3,200 will be had. 

2d, Let the name of each hundred men be entered in a 
book, and let four dollars be collected from each man, with 
as much more as any of the gentlemen, whose abilities can 
afford it, shall please to throw in, which gifts likewise shall 
be entered against the names of the donors. 

3d, Let the sums so collected be offered as a present, over 
and above the bounty of twenty dollars, to any four who 
may be inclined to propose themselves as volunteers: if 
more than four offer, the majority of the subscribers present 
shall determine which : if none offer, then four out of the 
nundred shall be taken bv lot, who shall be entitled to 
the sa.id sums, and shall either go, or provide others that 
will, in the space of MX days. 

4th, As it will always happen, that in the space of ground 
on which an hundred men shall live, there will be always a 
number of persons who, by age and infirmity, are incapable 
of doing personal service, and as such persons are generally 
possessed of the greatest part of the property in any country, 
their portion of service, therefore, will be to furnish each 
man with a blanket, which will make a regimental coat, 
jacket, and breeches, or clothes in lieu thereof, and another 
for a watch cloak, and two pair of shoes ; for however choice 
people may be of these things matters not in cases of this 
kind ; those who live always in houses can find many ways 
to keep themselves warm, but it is a shame and a sin to suf- 
fer a soldier in the field to want a blanket while there is one 
in the country. 

Should the clothing not be wanted, the superannuated 01 
infirm persons possessing property, mav, in lieu thereof, throw 
in their money subscriptions towards increasing the bounty ; 
for though age will naturally exempt a person from personal 
service, it cannot exempt him from his share of the charge, 
because the men are raised for the defence of property and 
liberty jointly. 

There never was a scheme against which objections might 
not be raised. But thi* alone is not a sufficient reason fur 



50 FHE CRISIS. 

rejection. The only line to judge truly upon, is to draw out 
and admit all the objections which can fairly be made, and 
place against them all the contrary qualities, conveniences 
and advantages, then by striking a balance you come at the 
true character of any scheme, principle or position. 

The most material advantages of the plan here proposed 
are, ease, expedition, and cheapness ; yet the men so raised 
get a much larger bounty than is any where at present 
given ; because all the expenses, extravagance, and conse- 
quent idleness of recruiting are saved or prevented. The 
country incurs no new debt nor interest thereon ; the whole 
matter being all settled at once and entirely done with. It 
is a subscription answering all the purposes of a tax, with- 
out either the charge or trouble of collecting. The men are 
ready for the field with the greatest possible expedition, 
because it becomes the duty of the inhabitants themselves, 
in every part of the country, to find their proportion of men, 
instead of leaving it to a recruiting sergeant, who, be he 
ever so industrious, cannot know always where to apply. 

I do not propose this as a regular digested plan, neither 
will the limits of this paper admit of any further remarks 
upon it. I believe it to be a hint capable of much improve- 
ment, and as such submit it to the public. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Lancaster, March 21, 1T78. 



KUMBEK VL 

TO THE EAEL OF CARLISLE, GENERAL CLINTON, AND WIL 
LIAM EDEN, ESQ., BRITISH COMMISSIONERS, AT NEW- 
YORK. 

THERE is a dignity in the warm passions of a whig, which 
is never to be found in the cold malice of a tory. In the 
one nature is only heated in the other she is poisoned. 
The instant the former has it in his power to punish, he feels 
a disposition to forgive ; but the canine venom of the latter 
knows no relief but revenge. This general distinction will, 
I believe, apply in all cases, and suit as well the meridian , 
of England as America. 

As I presume your last proclamation wTi undergo the 



THE OBI8I8. 81 

itrictures of other pens, I shall confine my remarks to only 
a few parts thereof. All that you have said might have 
been comprised in half the compass. It is tedious and 
unmeaning, and only a repetition of your former follies, with 
here and there an offensive aggravation. Your cargo of 
pardons will have no market It is unfashionable to look at 
them even speculation is at an end. They have become a 
perfect drug, and no way calculated for the climate. 

In the course of your proclamation you say, " The policy 
as well as the benevolence of Great Britain have thus far 
checked the extremes of war, when they tended to distress a 

Eeople still considered as their fellow subjects, and to deso- 
ite a country shortly to become again a source of mutual 
advantage." What you mean by " the benevolence of Great 
Britain is to me inconceivable. To put a plain question ; 
do you consider yourselves men or devils ? For until this 
point is settled, no determinate sense can be put upon the 
expression. You have already equalled, and in many cases 
excelled, the savages of either Indies ; and if you have yet 
a cruelty in store you must have imported it, unmixed with 
every human material, from the original warehouse of hell. 
To the interposition of Providence, and her blessings on 
our endeavours, and not to British benevolence, are we 
indebted for the short chain that limits your ravages. 
Remember you do not at this time, command a foot of land 
on the continent of America. Staten-Island, York-Island, a 
small part of Long-Island, and Rhode-Island, circumscribe 
your power ; and even those you hold at the expense of the 
West-Indies. To avoid a defeat, or prevent a desertion of 
your troops, you have taken up your quarters in holes and 
corners of inaccessible security ; and in order to conceal 
what every one can perceive, you now endeavour to impose 
your weakness upon us for an act of mercy. If you think 
to succeed by such shadowy devices, you are but infants in 
the political world ; you have the A, B, C, of stratagem yet 
to learn., and are wholly ignorant ot the people you have 
to contend witn. Like men in a state of intoxication, you 
forget that the rest of the world have eyes, and that the 
same stupidity which conceals you from yourselves exposes 
yon to their satire and contempt. 

The Darap raph which I have quoted, stands as an intro- 
duction to the following : " But when that country (America) 
1 pro'eofte.* the unnatural design, not only of estranging her- 
self from us, but of mortgaging herself and her resources to 



82 THE OBISI8. 

our enemies, the whole contest is changed : and the question 
is how far Great Britain may, by every means in her power, 
destroy, or render useless, a connexion contrived for her ruin, 
and the aggrandizement of France. Under such circum- 
stances, the Taws of self-preservation must direct the conduct 
of Britain, and if the British colonies are to become an 
accession to France, will direct her to render that accession 
of as little avail as possible to her enemy." 

I consider you in this declaration, like madmen biting in 
the hour of death. It contains likewise a fraudulent mean- 
ness; for, in order to justify a barbarous conclusion, you 
have advanced a false position. The treaty we have formed 
with France is open, noble, and generous. It is true policy, 
founded on sound philosophy, and neither a surrender or 
mortgage, as you would scandalously insinuate. I have 
seen every article, and speak from positive knowledge. In 
France, we have found an affectionate friend and faithful 
ally ; in Britain, we have found nothing but tyranny, cruelty, 
and infidelity. 

But the happiness is, that the mischief you threaten, is 
not in your power to execute ; and if it were, the punish- 
ment would return upon you in a ten-fold degree. The 
humanity of America hath hitherto restrained her from acts 
of retaliation, and the affection she retains for many indi- 
viduals in England, who have fed, clothed and comforted 
her prisoners, has, to the present day, warded off her resent- 
ment, and operated as a screen to the whole. But even 
these considerations must cease, when national objects inter- 
fere and oppose them. Repeated aggravations will provoke 
a retort, and policy justify the measure. We mean now to 
take you seriously up upon your own ground and principle, 
and as you do, so shall you be done by. 

You ought to know, gentlemen, that England and Scot- 
land are far more exposed to incendiary desolation than 
America, in her present state, can possibly be. "We occupy 
a country, with but few towns, and whose riches consist in 
land and annual produce. The two last can suffer but little, 
and that only within a very limited compass. In Britain it 
is otherwise. Her wealth lies chiefly in ' cities and large 
towns, the depositories of manufactories and fleets of mer- 
chantmen. There is not a nobleman's country seat but may 
be laid in ashes by a single person. Your own may proba- ., 
bly contribute to the proof : in short, there is no evil which w 
cannot be returned wnen you come to incendiary mischief. 



THE CRISIS. 83 

1 he ships in the Thames, may certainly be as easily set on 
fir, as the temporary bridge was a few years ago ; yet ol 
thai; affair no discovery was ever made ; and the loss you 
would sustain by sucn an event, executed at a proper sea 
son, is infinitely greater than any you can inflict. The East- 
India house, and the bank, neither are, nor can be secure 
from this sort of destruction, and, as Dr. Price justly ob- 
serves, a fire at the latter, would bankrupt the nation. It 
has never been the custom of France and England, when at 
war, to make those havocs on each other, because the ease 
with which they could retaliate, rendered it as impolitic as 
if each had destroyed his own. 

But think not, gentlemen, that our distance secures you, 
or our invention fails us. We can much easier accomplish 
such a point than any nation in Europe. We talk the same 
language, dress in the same habit, and appear with the same 
manners as yourselves. We can pass rrom one part of 
England to another unsuspected ; many of us are as well 
acquainted with the country as you are, and should you im- 
politically provoke us, you will most assuredly lament the 
effects of it. Mischiefs of this kind require no army to exe- 
cute them. The means are obvious, and the opportunities 
nnguardable. I hold up a warning to your senses, if you 
have any left, and " to tne unhappy people likewise, whose 
affairs are committed to you."* I call not with the rancour 
of an enemy, but the earnestness of a friend, on the deluded 
people of England, lest, between your blunders and theirs, 
they sink beneath the evils contrived for us. 

" He who lives in a glass house," says a Spanish proverb, 
*' should never begin throwing stones. This, gentlemen, is 
exactly vour case, and you must be the most ignorant of 
mankind, or suppose us so, not to see on whicn side the 
balance of accounts will fall. There are many other modes 
of retaliation, which, for several reasons, I choose not to 
mention. But be assured of this, that the instant you put 
your threat into execution, a counter-blow will follow it. If 
you openly profess yourselves savages, it is high time we 
ihould treat you as such, and if nothing but distress can 
recover you to reason, to punish will become an office of 
Charity. 

While your fleet lay last winter in the Delaware, I offered 

* my service to the Pennsylvania navy-board then at Trenton, 

* as ono who would make a party with them, or any four or 

* General Clinton's letter to Congress. 



84 THE CBISIS. 

five gentlemen, on an expedition down the river to set fire 
to it, and though it was not then accepted, nor the thing 
personally attempted, it is more than probable that your own 
folly will provoke a much more ruinous act. Say not when 
mischief is done, that you had not warning, and remember 
that we do not begin it, but mean to repay it. Thus much 
for your savage and impolitic threat. 

In another part of your proclamation you say, " But if 
the honors of a military life are become the object of the 
Americans, let them seek those honors under the banners of 
their rightful sovereign, and in fighting the battles of the 
united British empire, against our late mutual and natural 
enemies." Surely ! the union of absurdity with madness 
was never marked in more distinguishable lines than these. 
Your rightful sovereign, as you call him, may do well 
enough for you, who dare not inquire into the humble capa- - 
cities of the man ; but we, who estimate persons and things 
by their real worth, cannot suffer our judgments to be so 
imposed upon ; and unless it is your wish to see him ex- 
posed, it ought to be your endeavour to keep him out of 
sight. The less you have to say about him tne better. We 
have done with him, and that ought to be answer enough. 
You have been often told so. Strange ! that the answer 
must be so often repeated. You go a begging with your 
king as with a brat, or with some unsaleable commodity 
you are tired of ; and though every body tells you no, no, 
still you keep hawking him about. But there is one that 
will have him in a little time, and as we have no inclina- 
tion to disappoint you of a customer, we bid nothing for him. 
The impertinent folly of the paragraph that I have just 
quoted, deserves no other notice than to be laughed at and 
thrown by, but the principle on which it is founded is de- 
testable. We are invited to submit to a man who has 
attempted by every cruelty to destroy us, and to join him in 
making war against France, who is already at war against 
him for our support. 

Can Bedlam, in concert with Lucifer, form a more mad 
and devilish request ? Were it possible a people could sink 
into such apostacy they would deserve to be swept from the 
earth like the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. The 
proposition is an universal affront to the rank which man 
holds in the creation, and an indignity to him who placed 
him there. It supposes him made up without a spark of 
honor, and under no obligation to God or man. 



THE CRISIS. 



What sort of men or Christians must you suppose the 
A-inericans to be, who, after seeing their most humble 
petitions insultingly rejected ; the most grievous laws passed 
to distress them in every quarter ; and undeclared war let 
loose upon them, and Indians and negroes invited to the 
slaughter ; who, after seeing their kinsmen murdered, their 
fellow citizens starved to death in prisons, and their houses. 
and property destroyed and burned ; who, after the most 
serious appeals to heaven ; the most solemn abjuration by 
oath of all government connected with you, and the most 
heart-felt pledges and protestations of faith to each other 
and who, after soliciting the friendship, and entering into 
alliances with other nations, should at last break through al 1 . 
these obligations, civil and divine, by complying with your 
horrid ana infernal proposal ? Ought we ever after to be 
considered as a part of the human race ? Or ought we not 
rather to be blotted from the society of mankind, and be- 
come a spectacle of misery to the world ? But there is some- 
thing in corruption, which, like a jaundiced eye, transfere 
the colour of itself to the object it looks upon, and see? 
every thing stained and impure ; for unless you were 
capable of such conduct yourselves, you would never have 
supposed such a character hi us. The offer fixes your in- 
famy. It exhibits you as a nation without faith; with 
whom oaths and treaties are considered as trifles, and the 
breaking of them as the breaking of a bubble. Regard to 
decency, or to rank, might have taught you better ; or pride 
inspired you, though virtue could not. There is not left a 
step in the degradation of character to which you can now 
descend ; you aave put your foot on the ground floor, and 
the key 01 the dungeon is turned upon you. 

That the invitation may want nothing of being a com- 
plete monster, you have thought proper to finish it with an 
assertion which has no foundation, either in fact or philo- 
sophy ; and as Mr. Ferguson, your secretary, is a man of 
letters, and has made civil society his study, and published 
a treatise on that subject, I address this part to him. 

In the close of the paragraph which I last quoted, France 
is styled the " natural enemy " of England, and by way of 
lugging us into some strange idea, sne is styled " the late 
mutual and natural enemy" of both countries. I deny that 
she ever was a natural enemy of either; and that there 
does not exist in nature such a principle. The expression is 
an unmeaning barbarism, and wholly unphilosophicnl. when 



36 

applied to beings of the same species, let their station in the 
creation be what it may. We have a perfect idea of a 
natural enemy when we think of the devil, because the 
enmity is perpetual, unalterable, and unabateable. It ad- 
mits neither of peace, truce, or treaty ; consequently the 
warfare is eternal, and therefore it is natural. But man 
with man cannot arrange in the same opposition. Their 
quarrels are accidental and equivocally created. They be- 
come friends or enemies as the change of temper, or the cast 
of interest inclines them. The Creator of man did not con- 
stitute them the natural enemy of each other. He has not 
made any one order of beings so. Even wolves may quarrel, 
still they herd together. If any two nations are so, then 
must all nations be so, otherwise it is not nature but custom, 
and the offence frequently originates with the accuser. Eng- 
land is as truly the natural enemy of France, as France is 
of England, and perhaps more so. Separated from the rest 
of Europe, she has contracted an unsocial habit of manners, 
and imagines in others the jealousy she creates in herself. 
Never long satisfied with peace, she supposes the discontent 
universal, and buoyed up with her own importance, con- 
ceives herself to be the object pointed at. The expression 
has been often used, and always with a fraudulent design ; 
for when the idea of a natural enemy is conceived, it pre- 
vents all other inquiries, and the real cause of the quarrel is 
hidden in the universality of the conceit. Men start at the 
notion of a natural enemy, and ask no other question. The 
cry obtains credit like the alarm of a mad dog, and is one 
of those kind of tricks, which, by operating on the common 
passions, secures their interest through their folly. 

But we, sir, are not to be thus imposed upon. "We live in 
a large world, and have extended our ideas beyond the limits 
and prejudices of an island. We hold out the right hand 
of friendship to all the universe, and we conceive that there 
is a sociality in the manners of France, which is much better 
disposed to peace and negociation than that of England, and 
until the latter becomes more civilized, she cannot expect to 
live long at peace with any power. Her common language 
is vulgar and offensive, and children with their milk suck 
in the rudiments of insult " The arm of Britain ! The 
mighty arm of Britain ! Britain that shakes the earth to its 
centre and its poles ! The scourge of France 1 The terror 
of the world ! That governs with a nod, and pours down 
vengeance like a God." This language neither makes a 



THE CRISIS. 87 

nation great or little ; but it shows a savageness of manners, 
and has a tendency to keep national animosity alive. The 
entertainments of the stage are calculated to the same end, 
and almost every public exhibition is tinctured with insult. 
Yet England is always in dread of France. Terrified at the 
apprehension of an invasion. Suspicious of being outwitted 
in a treaty, and privately cringing though she is publicly 
offending. Let her, therefore, reform her manners and do 
justice, and she will find the idea of a natural enemy, to be 
only a phantom of her own imagination. 

Little did I think, at this period of the war, to see a pro- 
clamation which could promise you no one useful purpose 
whatever, and tend only to expose you. One would tnink 
that you were just awakened from a four years' dream, and 
knew nothing of what had passed in the interval. Is this a 
time to be offering pardons, or renewing the long forgotten 
subjects of charters and taxation ? Is it worth your while, 
after every force has failed you, to retreat under the shelter 
of argument and persuasion ? Or can you think that we, 
with nearly half your army prisoners, and in alliance with 
France, are to be begged or threatened into submission by 
a piece of paper ? But as commissioners at a hundred pounds 
sterling a week each, you conceive yourselves bound to 
do something, and the genius of ill fortune told you, that 
you must write. 

For my own part, I have not put pen to paper these 
several months. Convinced of our superiority by the issue 
of every campaign, I was inclined to hope, that that which 
all the rest of the world now see, would become visible to 
you, and therefore felt unwilling to ruffle your temper by 
fretting you with repetitions and discoveries. There have 
been intervals of hesitation in your conduct, from which it 
seemed a pity to disturb you, and a charity to leave you to 
yourselves. You have often stopped, as if you intended to 
think, but your thoughts have ever been too early or too 
late. 

There was a time when Britain disdained to answer, >r 
even hear a petition from America. That time is past, and 
she in her turn is petitioning our acceptance. We now stand 
on higher ground, and offer her peace ; and the time will 
come when she perhaps in vain, will ask it from us. The 
latter case is as probable as the former ever was. She can- 
not refuse to acknowledge our independence with greater 
obstinacy than she before refused to repeal her laws ; and if 



88 THE CRISIS 

America alone could bring her to the one, united with 
France she will reduce her to the other. There is something 
in obstinacy which differs from every other passion ; when- 
ever it fails it never recovers, but either breaks like iron, or 
crumbles sulkily away like a fractured arch. Most other 
passions have their periods of fatigue and rest ; their suffer- 
ings and their cure ; but obstinacy has no resource, and the 
first wound is mortal. You have already begun to give it 
up, and you will, from the natural construction of the vice, 
find yourselves both obliged and inclined to do so. 

If you look back you see nothing but loss and disgrace. 
If you look forward the same scene continues, and the close 
is an impenetrable gloom. You may plan and execute little 
mischiefs,- but are they worth the expense they cost you, or 
will such partial evils have any effect on the general cause ? 
Your expedition to Egg-Harbour, will be felt at a distance 
like an attack upon a hen-roost, and expose you in Europe, 
with a sort of childish phrenzy. Is it worth while to keep 
an army to protect you in writing proclamations, or to get 
once a year into winter-quarters ? Possessing yourselves of 
towns is not conquest, but convenience, and in which you 
will one day or other be trepanned. Your retreat from 
Philadelphia, was only a timely escape, and your next 
expedition may be less fortunate. 

It would puzzle all the politicians in the universe to con- 
ceive what you stay for, or why you should have staid so 
long. You are prosecuting a war in which you confess you 
have neither object nor hope, and that conquest, could it be 
effected, would not repay the charges : in the mean while 
the rest of your affairs are running to ruin, and a European 
war kindling against you. In such a situation, there is 
neither doubt nor difficulty ; the first rudiments of reason 
will determine the choice, for if peace can be procured with 
more advantages than even a conquest can be obtained, he 
must be an idiot indeed that hesitates. 

But you are probably buoyed up by a set of wretched 
mortals, who, having deceived themselves, are cringing, with 
the duplicity of a spaniel, for a little temporary bread. 
Those men will tell you just what you please. It is their 
interest to amuse, in order to lengthen out their protection. 
They study to keep you amongst them for that very purpose : 
and in proportion as you disregard their advice, and grow 
callous to their complaints, they will stretch into improba- 
bility, and season their flattery the higher. Characters like 



THE CRISIS. 89 



these, are to be found in every country, and every country 
will despise them. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, Oct. 20, 1778. 



NUMBER VIL 
TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND. 

THERE are stages in the business of serious life in which to 
amuse is cruel, but to deceive is to destroy ; and it is of little 
consequence, in the conclusion, whether men deceive them- 
selves, or submit, by a kind of mutual consent, to the 
impositions of each other. That England has long been 
under the influence of delusion or mistake, needs no other 
proof than the unexpected and wretched situation that she 
is now involved in : and so powerful has been the influence, 
that no provision was ever made or thought of against the 
misfortune, because the possibility of its happening was 
never conceived. 

The general and successful resistance of America, the 
conquest of Burgoyne, and a war in France, were treated in 
parliament as the dreams of a discontented opposition, or a 
distempered imagination. They were beheld as objects 
unworthy of a serious thought, and the bare intimation of 
them afforded the ministry a triumph of laughter. Short 
triumph indeed ! For every thing wnich has been predicted 
has happened, and all that was promised has failed. A 
long series of politics so remarkably distinguished by a suc- 
cession of misfortunes, without one alleviating turn, must 
certainly have something in it systematically wrong. It is 
sufficient to awaken the most credulous into suspicion, and 
the most obstinate into thought. Either the means in your 
power are insufficient, or the measures ill planned ; either 
the execution has been bad, or the thing attempted impracti- 
cable ; or, to speak more emphatically, either you are not 
able or heaven is not willing. For, why is it that you have 
not conquered ns ? Who, or what has prevented you ? You 
have had every opportunity that you could desire, and suc- 
ceeded to your utmost wish in every preparatory means. 



90 THE CKIBIS. 

Your fleets and armies have arrived in America without au 
accident. No uncommon misfortune hath intervened. No 
foreign nation hath interfered until the time which you had 
allotted for victory was past. The opposition, either in or 
out of parliament, neither disconcerted your measures, 
retarded or diminished your force. They only foretold your 
fate. Every ministerial scheme was carried with as high a 
hand as if tne whole nation had been unanimous. Every 
thing wanted was asked for, and every thing asked for was 
granted. 

A greater force was not within the compass of your abili- 
ties to send, and the time you sent it was of all others the 
most favorable. You were then at rest with the whole 
world beside. You had the range of every court in Europe 
uncontradicted by us. You amused us with a tale of the 
commissioners of peace, and under that disguise collected a 
numerous army and came almost unexpectedly upon us. 
The force was much greater than we looked for ; and that 
which we had to oppose it with, was unequal in numbers, 
badly armed, and poorly disciplined ; beside which, it was 
embodied only for a short time, and expired within a few 
months after your arrival. We had governments to form ; 
measures to concert an army to train, and every necessary 
article to import or to create. Our non-importation scheme 
had exhausted our stores, and your command by sea inter- 
cepted our supplies. "We were a people unknown, and un- 
connected with the political world, and strangers to the 
disposition of foreign powers. Could you possibly wish for 
a more favourable conjunction of circumstances ? Yet all 
these have happened and passed 'away, and, as it were, left 
you with a laugh. They are likewise events of such an 
original nativity as can never happen again, unless a new 
world should arise from the ocean. 

If any thing can be a lesson to presumption, surely the 
circumstances of this war will have their effect. Had 
Britain been defeated by any European power, her pride 
would have drawn consolation from the importance 01 her 
conquerors ; but in the present case, she is excelled by those 
that she affected to despise, and her own opinions retorting 
upon herself, become an aggravation of her disgrace. Mis- 
fortune and experience are lost upon mankind, when they 
produce neither reflection nor reformation. Evilu, like 
poisons, have their uses, and there are diseases which no 
other remedy can reach. It hat* been the crime and folly 



THE CRISIS. 91 

Df England to suppose herself invincible, and that, without 
acknowledging or perceiving that a full third of her strength 
was drawn from the country she is now at war with. The 
arm of Britain has been spoken of as the arm of the 
Almighty, and she has lived of late as if she thought the 
whole world created for her diversion. Her politics, instead 
of civilizing, has tended to brutalize mankind, and under the 
vain, unmeaning title of " Defender of the Faith," she ha& 
made war like an Indian against the religion of humanity. 
Her cruelties in the East Indies will never be forgotten , 
and it is somewhat remarkable that the produce of that 
ruined country, transported to America, should there kindle 
up a war to punish the destroyer. The chain is continued, 
though with a mysterious kind of uniformity both in the 
crime and the punishment. The latter runs parallel with 
the former, and time and fate will give it a perfect illustra- 
tion. 

"WTien information is withheld, ignorance becomes a 
reasonable excuse ; and one would charitably hope that the 
people of England do not encourage cruelty from choice but 
from mistake. Their recluse situation, surrounded by the 
sea, preserves them from the calamities of war, and keeps 
them in the dark as to the conduct of their own armies. 
They see not, therefore they feel not. They tell the tale 
that is told them and believe it, and accustomed to no other 
news than their own, they receive i;t, stripped of its horrors 
and prepared for the palate of the nation, through the chan- 
nel of the London Gazette. They are made to believe that 
their generals and armies differ nom those of other nations, 
and have nothing of rudeness or barbarity in them. They 
suppose them what they wish them to be. They feel a dis- 
grace in thinking otherwise, and naturally encourage the 
belief from a partiality to themselves. There was a time 
when I felt the same prejudices, and reasoned from the same 
errors; but experience, sad and painful experience, hag 
taught me better. What the conduct of former armies was. 
I know not, but what the conduct of the present is, I well 
know. It is low, cruel, indolent and profligate ; and had 
the people of America no other cause for separation than 
what the army has occasioned, that alone is cause sufficient. 

The field of politics in England is far more extensive than 
that of news. Men have a right to reason for themselves, 
and though they cannot contradict the intelligence in tha 
Gazette, they may frame upon it wl>t .sentiments 



92 THE CRISIS. 

they please. But the misfortune is, that a general ignorance 
lias prevailed over the whole nation respecting America, 
The ministry and minority have both been wrong. The 
former was always so, the latter only lately so. Politics, to 
l)e executively right, must have a unity of means and time, 
and a defect in either overthrows the whole. The ministry 
rejected the plans of the minority while they were practi- 
cable, and joined in them when they became impracticable. 
From wrong measures they got into wrong time, and have 
now completed the circle of absurdity by closing it upon 
themselves. 

I happened to come to America a few months before the 
breaking out of hostilities. I found the disposition of the 
people such, that they might have been led by a thread and 
governed by a reed. Their suspicion was quick and pene- 
trating, but their attachment to Britain was obstinate, and 
it was at that time a kind of treason to speak against it. 
They disliked the ministry, but they esteemed the nation. 
Their idea of grievance operated without resentment, and 
their single object was reconciliation. Bad as I believed the 
ministry to be, I never conceived them capable of a measure 
so rash and wicked as the commencing of hostilities ; much 
less did I imagine the nation would encourage it. I viewed 
the dispute as a kind of law-suit, in which I supposed the 
parties would find a way either to decide or settle it. I had 
no thoughts of independence or of arms. The world could 
not then have persuaded me that I should be either a soldier 
or an author. If I had any talents for either, they were 
buried in me, and might ever have continued so, had not the 
necessity of the times dragged and driven them into action. 
I had formed my plan of life, and conceiving myself happy, 
wished every body else so. But when the country, into 
which I had just set my foot, was set on fire about my ears, 
it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir. Those 
who had been long settled had something to defend ; those 
who had just come had something to pursue; and the call 
and the concern was equal and universal. For in a country 
where all' men were once adventurers, the difference of a few 
years in their arrival could make none in their right. 

The breaking out of hostilities opened a new suspicion in 
the politics of America, which, though at that time very 
rare, has since been proved to be verv right. "What I allude 
to is, " a secret and fixed determination in the British cabi- 
net to annex America to the crown of England as a con- 



THE OKI8I8. 93 

quered country." If this be taken as the object, then the 
whole line of conduct pursued by the ministry, though rash 
in its origin and ruinous in its consequences, is nevertheless 
uniform and consistent in its parts. It applies to every case, 
and resolves every difficulty. But if taxation, or any thing 
else, be taken in its room, there is no proportion between 
the object and the charge. Nothing but the whole soil and 
property of the country can be placed as a possible equiva- 
lent against the millions which the ministry expended. No 
taxes raised in America could possibly repay it. A revenue 
of two millions sterling a year would not discharge the sum 
and interest accumulated thereon, in twenty years. 

Reconciliation never appears to have been the wish or the 
object of the administration, they looked on conquest as 
certain and infallible, and, under that persuasion, sought to 
drive the Americans into what they might style a general 
rebellion, and then, crushing them with arms in theirnands, 
reap the rich harvest of a general confiscation, and silence 
them for ever. The dependants at court were too numerous 
to be provided for in England. The market for plunder in 
the East-Indies was over ; and the profligacy of government 
required that a new mine should be opened, and that mine 
co aid be no other than America, conquered and forfeited. 
They had no where else to go. Every other channel was 
drained ; and extravagance, with the thirst of a drunkard, 
was gaping for supplies. 

If the ministry deny this to have been their plan, it 
becomes them to explain what was their plan. For either 
they have abused us in coveting property they never labored 
for, or they have abused you in expending an amazing sum 
upon an incompetent object. Taxation, as I mentioned 
before, could never be worth the charge of obtaining it by 
arms; and any kind of formal obedience which America 
could have made, would have weighed with the lightness of 
a laugh against such a load of expense. It is therefore 
most probable, that the ministry will at last justify their 
policy by their dishonesty, and openly declare that their 
original design was conquest; and in this case, it well 
becomes the people of England to consider how far the 
nation would nave been benefited by the success. 

In a general view, there are few conquests which repay 
the charge of making them, and mankind are pretty wci' 
convinced that it can never be worth their while to g > t > 
war for profit's sake. If they are made war upon, their 



94 THE CRISIS. 

country invaded, or their existence at stake, it is their dutj 
to defend and preserve themselves, but in every other 
light, and from every other cause, is war inglorious and de- 
testable. But to return to the case in question 

"When conquests are made of foreign countries, it is sup- 
posed that the commerce and dominion of the country which 
made them are extended. But this could neither be the 
object nor the consequence of the present war. You enjoyed 
the whole commerce before. It could receive no possible 
addition by a conquest, but on the contrary, must diminish 
as the inhabitants were reduced in numbers and wealth. 
You had the same dominion over the country which you 
used to have, and had no complaint to make against her 
for breach of any part of the contract between you or her, 
or contending against any established custom, commercial, 
political or territorial. The country and commerce were 
both your own when you began to conquer, in the same 
manner and form as they had been your own an hundred 
years before. Nations have sometimes been induced to 
make conquests for the sake of reducing the power of their 
enemies, or bringing it to a balance with their own. But thia 
could be no part of your plan. No foreign authority was 
claimed here, neither was any such authority suspected by 
you, or acknowledged or imagined by us. What then, in 
the name of heaven, could you go to war for ? Or what 
chance could you possibly have in the event, but either to 
!. jLd the same country which you held before, and that in a 
much worse condition, or to lose, with an amazing expense, 
what you might have retained without a farthing of 
charges. 

War never can be the interest of a trading nation, any 
more than quarrelling can be profitable to a man in 
business. But to make war with those who trade with us, 
is like setting a bull-dog upon a customer at the shop-door. 
The least degree of common sense shows the madness of the 
latter, and it will apply with the same force of conviction 
to the former. Piratical nations, having neither commerce 
or commodities of their own to lose, may make war upon 
all the world, and lucratively find their account in it ; out 
it is quite otherwise with Britain : for, besides the stoppage 
of trade in time of war, she exposes more of her own pro- 
perty to be lost, than she has the chance of taking from 
others. Some ministerial gentlemen in parliament have 
mentioned the greatness of her trade as an apology for the 



THE CRISIS. 95 

greatness of her loss. This is miserable politics indeed 1 
Because it ought to have been given as a reason for her not 
engaging in a war at first. The coast of America com- 
mands the West-India trade almost as effectually as the 
coast of Africa does that of the Straits ; and England can 
no more carry on the former without the consent of Ame- 
rica, than she can the latter without a Mediterranean pass. 

In whatever light the war with America is considered 
upon commercial principles, it is evidently the interest of 
the people of England not to support it ; and why it has 
been supported so long, against the clearest demonstrations 
of truth and national advantage, is to me, and must be to 
all the reasonable world, a matter of astonishment. Perhaps 
it may be said that I live in America, and write this from 
interest. To this I reply, that my principle is universal. 
My attachment is to all the world, and not to any particular 
part, and if what I advance is right, no matter where or 
who it comes from. We have given the proclamation of 
your commissioners a currency in our newspapers, and I 
have no doubt you will give this a place in yours. To oblige 
and be obliged is fair. 

Before I dismiss this Dart of my address, I shall mention 
one more circumstance in w 1 * 1 1 1 k the people of Eng- 
land have been equally mistu*^-. . ~^a then proceed to other 
matters. 

There is such an idea existing in the world, as that of 
national honor, and this falsely understood, is oftentimes 
the cause of war. In a Christian and philosophical sense, 
mankind seem to have stood still at individual civilization, 
and to retain as nations all the original rudeness of na- 
ture. Peace by treaty is only a cessation of violence for a 
reformation of sentiment. It is a substitute for a principle 
that is wanting and ever will be wanting till the idea ot 
national honor be rightly understood. As individuals we 
profess ourselves Christians, but as nations we are heathens, 
Komans, and what not. I remember the late admiral 
Saunders declaring in the house of commons, and that in 
the time of peace, " That the city of Madrid laid in ashes 
was not a sufficient atonement for the Spaniards taking off 
the rudder of an English sloop of war." I do not ask 
whether this is Christianity or morality, I ask whether it is 
decency ? whether it is proper language for a nation to 
use ? In private life we call it by the plain name of bully- 
ing, and the elevation of rank cannot alter its character. It 



96 THE CRISIS. 

is, I think, exceedingly easy to define what ought to be 
understood by national honor ; for that which is the best 
character for an individual is the best character for a na- 
tion ; and wherever the latter exceeds or falls beneath the 
former, there is a departure from the line of true greatness. 

I have thrown out this observation with a design of apply- 
ing it to Great Britain. Her ideas of national honor, seem 
devoid of that benevolence of heart, that universal expan- 
sion of philanthropy, and that triumph over the rage of vul- 
gar prejudice, without which man is inferior to himself, and 
a companion of common animals. To know whom she shall 
regard or dislike, she asks what country they are of, what 
religion they profess, and what property they enjoy. Her 
idea of national honor seems to consist in national insult, 
and that to be a great people, is to be neither a Christian, 
a philosopher, or a gentleman, but to threaten with the 
rudeness of a bear, and to devour with the ferocity of a 
lion. This perhaps may sound harsh and uncourtly, but it 
is too true, and the more is the pity. 

I mention this only as her general character. But towards 
America she has observed no character at all ; and destroyed 
by her conduct what she assumed in her title. She set out 
with the title of parent, or mother country. The association 
of ideas which naturally accompany this expression, are 
filled with every thing that is fond, tender and forbearing. 
They have an energy peculiar to themselves, and, overlook- 
ing the accidental attachment of common affections, apply 
with infinite softness to the first feelings of the heart, it is 
a political term which every mother can feel the force of, 
a. : every child can judge of. It needs no painting of mine 
to set it off, for nature only can do it justice. 

But has any part of your conduct to America corre- 
sponded with the title you set up? If in your general 
national character you are unpolished and severe, in this 
you are inconsistent and unnatural, and you must have ex- 
ceeding false notions of national honor, to suppose that the 
world can admire a want of humanity, or that national 
honor depends on the violence of resentment, the inflexi- 
bility of temper, or the vengeance of execution. 

I would willingly convince you, and that with as much 
temper as the times will suffer me to do, that as you opposed 
your own interest by quarrelling with us, so likewise your 
national honor, rightly conceived and understood, wae no 
ways called upon to enter into a war with America ; had 



THE CRISIS. 97 

you studied true greatness of heart, the first and fairest orna- 
ment of mankind, you would have acted directly contrary 
to all that you have done, and the world would have 
ascribed it to a generous cause ; besides which, you had 
(though with the assistance of this country) secured a power- 
ful name by the last war. You, were known and dreaded 
abroad ; and it would have been wise in you to have suf- 
fered the world to have slept undisturbed under that idea. 
It was to you a force existing without expense. It produced 
to you all the advantages of real power; and you were 
stronger through the universality of that charm, th:\.. any 
future fleets and armies may probably make you. Your 
greatness was so secured and interwoven with your silence, 
that you ought never to have awakened mankind, and had 
nothing to do but to be quiet. Had you been true politi- 
cians you would have seen all this, and continued to draw 
from the magic of a name, the force and authority of a 
nation. 

Unwise as you were in breaking the charm, you were still 
more unwise in the manner of doing it. Samson only told 
the secret, but you have performed the operation ; you have 
shaven your own head, and wantonly thrown away the 
locks. America was the hair from which the charm was 
drawn that infatuated the world. You ought to have quar- 
relled with no power ; but with her upon no account. Y ou 
had nothing to fear from any condescension you might make. 
You might have humored her, even if there had been no 
justice in her claims, without any risk to your reputation ; 
lor Europe, fascinated by your fame, would have ascribed 
it to your benevolence, and America, intoxicated by the 
grant, would have slumbered in her fetters. 

But this method of studying the progress of the passions, 
in order to ascertain the probable conduct of mankind, is a 
philosophy in politics which those who preside at St. James's 
nave no conception of. They know no other influence than 
corruption, and reckon all their probabilities from prece- 
dent. A new case is to them a new world, and while they 
are seeking for a parallel they get lost. The talents of lord 
Mansfield can be estimated at best no higher than those of 
a sophist. He understands the subtleties but not the ele- 
gance of nature ; and by continually viewing mankind 
through the cold medium of the law, never thinks of pene- 
trating into the warmer /tsgion of the mind. As for lord 
North, il is his happiness to have in him more philosophy 



98 THE CRISIS. 

than sentiment, for he bears flogging like a top, and sleeps 
the better for it. His punishment becomes his support, for 
while he suffers the lash for his sins, he keeps himself up by 
twirling about. In politics, he is a good arithmetician, and 
in every thing else nothing at all. 

There is one circumstance which comes so much within 
lord North's province as a financier, that I am surprised it 
should escape him, which is, the different abilities of the two 
countries in supporting the expense : for, strange as it may 
seem, England is not a match For America in this particular. 
By a curious kind of revolution in accounts, the people of 
England seem to mistake their poverty for their riches ; that 
is, they reckon their national debt as a part of their national 
wealth. They make the same kind of error which a man 
would do, who after mortgaging his estate, should add the 
money borrowed, to the full value of the estate, in order to 
count up his worth, and in this case he would conceive that 
he got rich by running into debt. Just thus it is with Eng- 
land. The government owed at the beginning of this war 
one hundred and thirty-five millions sterling, and though 
the individuals to whom it was due, had a right to reckon 
their shares as so much private property, yet to the nation 
collectively it was so much poverty. There is as effectual 
limits to public debts as to private ones, for when once the 
money borrowed is so great as to require the whole yearly 
revenue to discharge the interest thereon, there is an end to 
further borrowing ; in the same manner as when the interest 
of a man's debts amounts to the yearly income of his estate, 
there is an end to his credit. This is nearly the case with 
England, the interest of her present debt being at least 
equal to one half of her yearly revenue, so that out of ten 
millions annually collected by taxes, she has but five that 
she can call her own. 

The very reverse of this was the case with America ; she 
began the war without any debt upon her, and in order to 
carry it on, she neither raised money by taxes, nor borrowed 
it upon interest, but created it ; and her situation at this 
time continues so much the reverse of yours that taxing 
would make her rich, whereas it would make you poor 
When we shall have sunk the sum which we have created, 
we shall then be out of debt, be just as rich as when we 
began, and all the while we are doing it shall feel no differ- 
ence, because the value will rise as the quantity decreases. 

There was not a country in the world so capable of bear- 



mi; CRISIS. 99 

ing the expense of a war as America ; not only because she 
was not in debt when she began, but because the country is 
young and capable of infinite improvement, and has an 
almost boundless tract of new lands in store ; whereas Eng- 
land has got to her extent of age and growth, and has no 
unoccupied land or property in reserve. The one is like a 
young heir coming to a large improvable estate ; the other 
like an old man whose chances are over, and his estate 
mortgaged for half its worth. 

In the second number of the Crisis, which I find has been 
republished in England, I endeavored to set forth the 
impracticability of conquering America. I stated every 
case, that I conceived could possibly happen, and ventured 
to predict its consequences. As my conclusions were drawn 
not artfully, but naturally, they have all proved to be true. 
I was upon the spot; knew the politics of America, her 
strength and resources, and by a train of services, the best 
in my power to render, was honored with the friendship of 
the congress, the army and the people. I considered the 
cause a just one. I know and feel it a just one, and under 
that confidence never made my own profit or loss an object. 
My endeavor was to have the matter well understood on 
both sides, and I conceived myself tendering a general 
service, by setting forth to the one the impossibility of being 
conquered, and to the other the impossibility of conquering. 
Most of the arguments made use of by the ministry for sup- 
porting the war, are the very arguments that ought to have 
been used against supporting it ; and the plans, by which 
they thought to conquer, are the very plans in which they 
were sure to be defeated. They have taken every thing up 
at the wrong end. Their ignorance is astonishing, and were 
you in my situation you would see it. They may, perhaps, 
have your confidence, but I am persuaded that they would 
make very indifferent members of congress. I know what 
England is, and what America is, and from the compound 
of knowledge, am better enabled to judge of the issue, than 
what the king or any of his ministers can be. 

In this number I nave endeavored to show the ill policy 
and disadvantages of the war. I believe many of my remarks 
are new. Those whicli are not so, I have studied to improve 
and place in a manner that may be clear and striking. Y our 
failure is, I am persuaded, as certain as fate. America is 
above your reach. She is at least your equal in the world, 
and her independence neither rests upon your consent, nor 



100 THE GBI8I8. 

can it be prevented by your arms. In short, you spend 
your substance in vain, and impoverish yourselves without 
a hope. 

But suppose you had conquered America, what advan- 
tages, collectively or individually, as merchants, manufac- 
turers, or conquerors, could you have looked for. This is an 
object you seemed never to have attended to. Listening for 
the sound of victory, and led away by the phrenzy of arms, 
you neglected to reckon either the cost or the consequences. 
Y ou must all pay towards the expense ; the poorest among 
you must bear his share, and it is both your right and your 
duty to weigh seriously the matter. Had America been 
Conquered, she might have been parcelled out in grants to 
the favorites at court, but no share of it would have fallen 
to you. Your taxes would not have been lessened, because she 
would have been in no condition to have paid any towards 
your relief. We are rich by a contrivance of our own, which 
would have ceased as soon as you became masters. Our 
paper money will be of no use in England, and silver and 
gold we have none. In the last war you made many con- 
quests, but were any of your taxes lessened thereby? On 
the contrary, were you not taxed to pay for the charge of 
making them, and have not the same been the case in every 
war? 

To the parliament I wish to address myself in a more par- 
ticular manner. They appear to have supposed themselves 
partners in the chase, and to have hunted with the lion from 
an expectation of a right in the booty ; but in this it is most 
probable they would, as legislators, have been disappointed. 
The case is quite a new one, and many unforeseen difficulties 
would have arisen thereon. The parliament claimed a 
legislative right over America, and the war originated from 
that pretence. But the army is supposed to belong to the 
crown, and if America had been conquered through their 
means, the claim of the legislature would have been suffo- 
cated in the conquest. Ceded, or conquered, countries are 
supposed to be out of the authority of parliament. Taxation 
is exercised over them by prerogative and not by law. It 
was attempted to be done in the Granadas a few years ago, 
and the only reason why it was not done was because the 
crown had made a prior relinquishment of its claim. There- 
fore, parliament have been all this while supporting measures 
for the establishment of their authority, in the same issue of 
which, they would have been triumphed over by the prero- 



THE CRISIS. 101 

gative. This might have opened a new and interesting 
opposition between the parkament and the crown. The 
crown would have said that it conquered for itself, and that 
to conquer for parliament was an unknown case. The par- 
liament might nave replied, that America not being a for- 
eign country, but a country in rebellion, could not be said 
to be conquered, but reduced; and thus continued their 
claim by disowning the term. The crown might have re- 
joined, that however America might be considered at first, 
she became foreign at last by a declaration of independence, 
and a treaty with France ; and that her case being, by that 
treaty, put within the law of nations, was out of the law of 
parliament, who might have maintained, that as their claim 
over America had never been surrendered, so neither could 
it be taken away. The crown might have insisted, that 
though the claim of parliament could not be taken away, 
yet, being an inferior, it might be superseded ; and that, 
whether the claim was withdrawn from the object, or the 
object taken from the claim, the same separation ensued ; 
and that America being subdued after a treaty with France, 
was to all intents and purposes a regal conquest, and of 
course the sole property of the king. The parliament, as 
the legal delegates of the people, might have contended 
against the term " inferior, and rested the case upon the 
antiquity of power, and this would have brought on a set of 
very interesting and rational questions. 

1st, What is the original fountain of power and honor in 
any country ? 

2d, Whether the prerogative does not belong to the 
people ? 

3d, Whether there is any such thing as the English con- 
stitution ? 

4th, Of what use is the crown to the people ? 

5th, Whether he who invented a crown was not an enemy 
to mankind ? 

6th, Whether it is not a shame for a man to spend a 
million a year and do no good for it, and whether the money 
might not be better applied ? 

7th, Whether such a man is not better dead than alive ? 

8th, Whether a congress, constituted like that of Ame- 
rica, is not the most happy and consistent form of govern- 
ment in the world ? With a number of others of the same 
import. 

In short, the contention about thr dividend might have 



102 fHE CRISIS. 

distracted the nation ; for nothing is more common than to 
agree in the conquest and quarrel for the prize ; there- 
fore it is, perhaps, a happy circumstance, that our successes 
have prevented the dispute. 

If the parliament had been thrown out in their claim, which 
it is most probable they would, the nation likewise would 
have been thrown out in their expectation ; for as the taxes 
would have been laid on by the crown without the parlia- 
ment, the revenue arising therefrom, if any could have 
arisen, would not have gone into the exchequer, but into 
the privy purse, and so far from lessening the taxes, would 
not even have been added to them, but served only as 
pocket money to the crown. The more I reflect on this 
matter, the more I am astonished at the blindness and ill 
policy of my countrymen, whose wisdom seems to operate 
without discernment, and their strength without an object. 

To the great bulwark of the nation, I mean the mercantile 
and manufacturing part thereof, I likewise presen fc my ad- 
dress. It is your interest to see America an independent, 
and IK t a conquered country. If conquered, she is ruined ; 
and if ruined, poor ; consequently the trade will be a trifle, 
and her credit doubtful. If independent, she flourishes, and 
from her flourishing must your profits arise. It matters 
nothing to you who governs America, if your manufactures 
find a consumption there. Some articles will consequently 
be obtained from other places, and it is right that they 
should ; but the demand for others will increase, by the 
great influx of inhabitants which a state of independence 
and peace will occasion, and in the final event you may be 
enriched. The commerce of America is perfectly free, and 
ever will be so. She will consign away no part of it to any 
nation. She has not to her friends, and certainly will not 
to her enemies, though it is probable that your narrow- 
minded politicians, thinking to please you thereby, may 
some time or other unnecessarily make such a proposal. 
Trade flourishes best when it is rree, and it is weaJt policy 
to attempt to fetter it. Her treaty with France is on the 
most liberal and generous principles, and the French, in 
their conduct towards her, have proved themselves to be 
philosophers, politicians and gentlemen. 

To the ministry I likewise address myself. You, gentle- 
men, have studied the ruin of your country, from which it 
--s not within your abilities to rescue her. Your attempts 
tc recover her are as ridiculous as your plans which in 



THE CRD* 108 



volved her are detestable. The CCJIIL.**. iers, being about 
to depart, will probably bring you this, and with it my sixtl 
number addressed to them ; ana in so doing they carry back 
more Common Sense than they brought, and you likewise 
will have more than when you sent them. 

Having thus addressed you severally, I conclude by ad 
dressing you collectively. It is a long lane that has no turn 
ing. A period of sixteen years of misconduct and misfor- 
tune, is certainly long enough for any one nation to suffer 
under ; and upon a supposition that war is not declared be- 
tween France and you, I beg to place a line of conduct 
before you that will easily lead you out of all your trou- 
bles. It has been hinted before, and cannot be too much at- 
tended to. 

Suppose America had remained unknown to Europe till 
the present year, and that Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, in 
another voyage round the world, had made the first dis- 
covery of ner, in the same condition that she is now in, of 
arts, arms, numbers and civilization. What, I ask, in that 
case, would have been your conduct towards her ? For that 
will point out what it ought to be now. The problems and 
their solutions are equal, and the right line of the one is the 
parallel of the other. The question takes in every circum- 
stance that can possibly arise. It reduces politics to a sim- 
ple thought, and is moreover a mode of investigation, in 
which, while you are studying your interest the simplicity 
of the case will cheat you into good temper. You have 
nothing to do but to suppose that you have found America, 
and she appears found to your hand, and while in the joy of 
your heart you stand still to admire her, the path of poKtici 
rises straight before you. 

Were I disposed to paint a contrast, I could easily set oft 
what you have done in the present case, against what you 
would have done in that case, and by justly opposing them, 
conclude a picture that would make you blush. But, as when 
any of the prouder passions are hurt, it is much better phi- 
losophy to let a man slip into a good temper than to attack 
him in a bad one ; for tnat reason, therefore, I only state the 
case, and leave you to reflect upon it. 

To go a little back into politics, it will be found that th* 
true interest of Britain lay in proposing and promoting the 
independence of America immediately after the last peace ; 
for the expense which Britain had then incurred by defending 
America as her own dominions, ought to have shown hei 



104 THE CRISIS. 

the policy and necebsity of changing ihe style of the country, 
as the best probable method of preventing future wars and 
expense, and the only method by which she could hold the 
commerce without the charge of sovereignty. Besides which, 
the title which she assumed, of parent country, led to, and 
pointed out the propriety, wisdom and advantage of a sepa- 
ration ; for, as in private life, children grow into men, and 
by setting up for themselves, extend and secure the interest 
of the whole family, so in the settlement of colonies large 
enough to admit of maturity, the same policy should be 
pursued, and the same consequences would follow. Nothing 
hurts the affections both of parents and children so much, 
as living too closely connected, and keeping up the distinc- 
tion too long. Domineering will not do over those, who, by 
a progress in life, have become equal in rank to their parents, 
that is, when they have families of their own ; and though 
they may conceive themselves the subject of their advice, 
will not suppose them the objects of tneir government. I 
do not, by drawing this parallel, mean to admit the title of 
parent country, because, if it is due any where, it is due to 
Europe collectively, and the first settlers from England were 
driven here by persecution. I mean only to introduce the 
term for the sake of policy and to show from your title the 
line of your interest. 

When you saw the state of strength and opulence, and 
that by her own industry, which America had arrived at, 
you ought to have advised her to set up for herself, and pro- 
posed an alliance of interest with her, and in so doing you 
would have drawn, and that at her own expense, more real 
advantage, and more military supplies and assistance, both 
of ships and men, than from any weak and wrangling gov- 
ernment that you could exercise over her. In short, nad 
you studied only the domestic politics of a family, you 
would have learned how to govern the state ; but, instead 
of this easy and natural line, you flew out into every thing 
which was wild and outrageous, till, by following the pas- 
sion and stupidity of the pilot, you wrecked the vessel wiihin 
sight of the shore. 

Having shown what you ought to have done, I now pro- 
ceed to show why it was not done. The caterpillar circle 
of the court, had an interest to pursue, distinct from, and 
opposed to yours ; for though by the independence of America 
and an alliance therewith, the trade would have continued, 
if not increased, as in many articles neither country can go 



THE CRIST?. 105 

to a better market, and though by defending and protecting 
herself, she would have been no expense to you, and conse- 
quently your national charges would have decreased, and 
your taxes might have been proportionably lessened thereby ; 
yet the striking off so many places from the court calendar 
was put in opposition to the interest of the nation. The loss 
of thirteen government ships, with their appendages, here 
and in England, is a shocking sound in the ear of a hungry 
courtier. Your present king and ministry will be the ruin 
of you ; and you had better risk a revolution and call a 
congress, than be thus led on from madness to despair, and 
from despair to ruin. America has set you the example, and 
you may follow it and be free. 

I now come to the last part, a war with France. This is 
what no man in his senses will advise you to, and all good 
men would wish to prevent. "Whether France will declare 
war against you, is not for me in this place to mention, or 
to hint, even if I knew it ; but it must be madness in you 
to do it first. The matter is come now to a full crisis, and 
peace is easy if willingly set about. Whatever you may 
think, France has behaved handsomely to you. She would 
have been unjust to herself to have acted otherwise than she 
did ; and having accepted our offer of alliance, she gave 
you genteel notice of it. There was nothing in her conduct 
reserved or indelicate, and while she announced her deter- 
mination to support her treaty, she left you to give the first 
offence. America, on her part, has exhibited a character of 
firmness to the world. Unprepared and unarmed, without 
form or government, she singly opposed a nation that domi- 
neered ove'r half the globe. The greatness of the deed 
demands respect ; and though you may feel resentment, you 
are compelled both to wonder and admire. 

Here I rest my arguments and finish my address. Such 
as it is, it is a gift, and you are welcome. It was always 
my design to dedicate a Crisis to you, when the time should 
come that would properly make it a Crisis ; and when, like- 
wise I should catch myself in a temper to write it, and sup- 
pose you in a condition to read it. That time has now 
arrived, and with it the opportunity of conveyance. For 
the commissioners -poor commissioners ! having proclaimed, 
that " yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown /" 
have waited out the date, and, discontented with their God, 
are returning to their gourd. And all the harm I wish 
them is, that it may not wither about their ears, and 



106 THE CRISIS. 

that they may not make their exit in the belly of a 
whale. 

COMMON SENSE 

Philadelphia, Nov. 21, 1778. 

P. S. Though in the tranquillity of my mind I have con- 
cluded with a laugh, yet I have something to mention to the 
commissioners, which, to them, is serious and worthy their 
attention. Their authority is derived from an act of parlia- 
ment, which likewise describes and limits their official 
powers. Their commission, therefore, is only a recital, and 
personal investiture, of those powers, or a nomination and 
description of the persons who are to execute them. Had it 
contained any thing contrary^ to, or gone beyond the line of, 
the written law from which it is derived, and by which it is 
bound, it would, by the English constitution, have been 
treason in Cj crown, and the king been subject to an im- 
peachment. He dared not, therefore, put in his commission 
what you have put in your proclamation, that is, he dared 
not have authorised you in that commission to burn and 
destroy any thing in America. You are both in the act and 
in the commission styled commissioners for restoring peace, 
and the methods for doing it are there pointed out. Your 
last proclamation is signed by you as commissioners under 
that act. You make parliament the patron of its contents. 
Yet, in the body of it, yeu insert matters contrary both to 
the spirit and letter of the act, and what likewise your king 
dared not have put in his commission to you. The state of 
things in England, gentlemen, is too ticklish for you to run 
hazards. You are accountable to parliament for tlie execu- 
tion of that act according to the letter of it. Your heads 
may pay for breaking it, for you certainly have broke it by 
exceeding it. And as a friend, who would wish you to 
escape the paw of the lion, as well as the belly of the whale, 
I civilly hint to you, to keep within compass. 

Sir Harry Clinton, strictly speaking, is as accountable as 
the rest; K>r though a general, he is likewise a commis- 
sioner, acting under a superior authority. His first obedi- 
ence is due to the act ; and his plea of being a general, will 
not and cannot clear him as a commissioner, for that would 
suppose the crown, in its single capacity, to have a power 
of dispensing with an act of parliament. Your situation, 

fBntlemen, is nice and critical, and the more so because 
ngland is unsettled. Take heed ! Remember the times of 



THE CRISIS. 10? 

Charles the first ! For Laud and Stafford fell by trusting 
to a hope like yours. 

Having thus shown you the danger of your proclamation, 
I now show you the folly of it. The means contradict 
your design ; you threaten to lay waste, in order to render 
America a useless acquisition of alliance to France. I 
reply, that the more destruction you commit (if you could 
do it) the more valuable to France you make that alliance. 
Fou can destroy only houses and goods ; and by BO doing 
you increase our demand upon her for materials and mer- 
chandize; for the wants of one nation, provided it has 
freedom and credit, naturally produces riches to the other ; 
and, as you can neither ruin tne land nor prevent the vege- 
tation, you would increase the exportation of our pro- 
duce in payment, which would be to her a new fond of 
wealth. In short, had you cast about for a plan or purpose 
to enrich your enemies, you could not have hit upon a 
better. 

C. 8. 



NUMBER VIII. 
ADDRESSED TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND. 

" TRUSTING (says the king of England in his speech ol 
November last,) in the divine providence, and in the justice 
of my cause, I am firmly resolved to prosecute the war with 
vigor, and to make every exertion in order to compel our 
enemies to equitable terms of peace and accommodation." 
To this declaration the United States of America, and the 
confederated powers of Europe will reply, if Britain witt 
ha/oe war, she shall 'have enough of it. 

Five years have nearly elapsed since the commencement 
of hostilities, and every campaign, by a gradual decay, has 
lessened your ability to conquer, without producing a seri- 
ous thought on your condition or your fate. Like a prodigal 
lingering in an habitual consumption, you feel the relics of 
life, and mistake them for recovery. New schemes, like new 
medicines, have administered fresh hopes, and prolonged the 
disease instead of curing it. A change of generals, like a 
change of physicians, served only to keep the flattery alive, 
and furnish new pretences for a new extravagance. 



iOS THE CKI8I8. 

u Can Britain fail f"* Has been proudly asked at the 
undertaking of every enterprise, ana that " whatever she 
wills is fate"-^ has been given with the solemnity of pro- 
phetic confidence, and though the question has been con- 
stantly replied to by disappointment, and the prediction 
falsified by misfortune, yet still the insult continued, and 
your catalogue of national evils increased therewith. Eager 
to persuade the world of her power, she considered destruc- 
tion as the minister of greatness, and conceived that the 
glory of a nation, like that of an Indian, lay in the number 
of its scalps and the miseries which it inflicts. 

Fire, sword and want, as far as the arms of Britain could 
extend them, have been spread with wanton cruelty along 
the coast of America ; and while yon, remote from the scene 
of suffering, had nothing to lose and as little to dread, the 
information reached you like a tale of antiquity, in which 
the distance of time defaces the conception, and changes the 
severest sorrows into conversable amusement. 

This makes the second paper, addressed perhaps in vain 
to the people of England. That advice should be taken 
wherever example has failed ; or precept be regarded where 
warning is ridiculed, is like a picture of hope resting on de- 
spair ; but when time shall stamp with universal currency, 
the facts you have long encountered with a laugh, and tne 
irresistible evidence of accumulated losses, like the hand 
writing on the wall, shall add terror to distress, you will 
then, in a conflict of suffering, learn to sympathise with 
others by feeling for yourselves. 

The triumphant appearance of the combined fleets in the 
channel and at your harbor's mouth, and the expedition of 
captain Paul Jones, on the western and eastern coasts of 
England and Scotland, will, by placing you in the condi- 
tion of an endangered country, read to you a stronger lec- 
ture on the calamities of invasion, and bring to your minds 
a truer picture of promiscuous distress, than the most fin- 
ished rhetoric can describe or the keenest imagination con- 
ceive. 

Hitherto you have experienced the expenses, but nothing 
of the miseries of war. Your disappointments have been 
accompanied with no immediate suffering, and your losses 
came to you only by intelligence. Like fire at a distance 

* Whitebead's new-year's ode for 1776. 

f Ode at the installation of lord North, for Chancellor of the university of 
Oxford. 



THE OKI8I8. 109 

you heard not even the cry ; you felt not the danger, you 
Baw not the confusion. To you everything has been foreign 
but the taxes to support it. You knew not what it was to 
be alarmed at midnight with an armed enemy in the streets. 
Yon were strangers to the distressing scene of a family in 
flight, and to the thousand restless cares and tender sorrows 
that incessantly arose. To see women and children wander- 
in^ in the severity of winter, with the broken remains of a 
well-furnished house, and seeking shelter in every crib and 
hut, were matters that you had no conception of. Y ou knew 
not what it was to stand by and see your goods chopped for 
fuel, and your beds ripped to pieces to make packages for 
plunder. The misery of others, like a tempestuous night, 
added to the pleasures of your own security. You even en- 
joyed the storm, by contemplating the difference of condi- 
tions, and that which carried sorrow into the breasts of 
thousands, served but to heighten in you a species of tran- 
quil pride. Yet these are but the fainter sufferings of war, 
when compared with carnage and slaughter, the miseries of 
a military nospital, or a town in flames. 

The people of America, by anticipating distress, had 
fortified their minds against every species you could inflict. 
They had resolved to abandon their homes, to resign them 
to destruction, and to seek new settlements rather tnan sub- 
mit. Thus familiarized to misfortune, before it arrived, they 
bore their portion with the less regret : the justness of their 
cause was a continual source of consolation, and the hope of 
final victory, which never left them, served to lighten the 
load and sweeten the cup allotted them to drink. 

But when their troubles shall become yours, and invasion 
be transferred upon the invaders, you will have neither their 
extended wilderness to fly to, their cause to comfort you, nor 
their hope to rest upon. Distress with them was sharpened 
by no self-reflection. They had not brought it on themselves. 
On the contrary, they had by every proceeding endeavored 
to avoid it, and had descended even below the mark of con- 
gressional character, to prevent a war. The national honor 
or the advantages of independence were matters, which at 
the commencement of the dispute, they had never studied, 
and it was only at the last moment that the measure was 
resolved on. Thus circumstanced, they naturally and con- 
scientiously felt a dependance upon providence. They had 
a clear pretension to it, and had they failed therein, infidelity 
had gained a triumph 



110 THE CRISIS. 

But your condition is the reverse of theirs. Every thing 
you suner you have sought : nay, had you created mischiefi 
on purpose to inherit them, you could not have secured your 
title by a firmer deed. The world awakens with no pity at 
your complaints. You felt none for others; you deserve 
none for yourselves. Nature does not interest herself in 
cases like yours, but, on the contrary, turns from them with 
dislike, and abandons them to punishment. You may now 
present memorials to what court you please, but so far as 
America is the object, none will listen. The policy of Europe, 
and the propensity there in every mind to curb insulting 
ambition, and bring cruelty to judgment, are unitedly 
against you ; and where nature and interest reinforce eacn 
other, the compact is too intimate to be dissolved. 

Make but the case of others your own, and your own 
theirs, and you will then have a clear idea of the whole 
Had France acted towards her colonies as you have done, 
you would have branded her with every epithet of abhor- 
rence ; and had you, like her, stepped in to succour a 
struggling people, all Europe must have echoed with your 
own applauses. But entangled in the passion of dispute, 
you see it not as you ought, and form opinions'thereon which 
suit with no interest but your own. You wonder that 
America does not rise in union with you to impose on her- 
self a portion of your taxes and reduce herself to uncon- 
ditional submission. You are amazed that the southern 
powers of Europe do not assist you in conquering a country 
which is afterwards to be turned against themselves ; and 
that the northern ones do not contribute to reinstate you in 
America who already enjoy the market for naval stores by 
the separation. You seem surprised that Holland does not 
pour in her succours, to maintain you mistress of the seas, 
when her own commerce is suffering by your act of naviga- 
tion; or that any country should study her own interest 
while yours is on the carpet. 

Such excesses of passionate folly, and unjust as well aa 
unwise resentment, have driven you on, like Pharaoh, to 
nil pitied miseries, and while the importance of the quarrel 
shall perpetuate your disgrace, the flag of America will 
carry it round the world. The natural feelings of every 
rational being will be against you, and wherever the story 
shall be told, you will have neither excuse nor consolation 
left. With an unsparing hand, and an insatiable mind, you 
have desolated the world, to gain dominion and to lose it ; 



THE OBI8I8. Ill 

and while, in a phrenzy of avarice and ambition, the east 
and the west are doomed to tributary bondage, yon rapidly 
earned destruction as the wages of a nation. 

At the thoughts of a war at home, every man amongst 
you ought to tremble. The prospect is far more dreadful 
there than in America. Here the party that was against 
the measures of the continent were in general composed of 
a kind of neutrals, who added strength to neither army. 
There does not exist a being so devoid of sense and senti- 
ment as to covet " unconditional submission" and therefore 
no man in America could be with you in principle. Several 
might from cowardice of mind, prefer it to the hardships 
and dangers of opposing it ; but the same disposition that 
gave them such a choice, unfitted them to act either for or 
against us. But England is rent into parties, with equal 
shares of resolution. The principle whicn produced the war 
divides the nation. Their animosities are in the highest 
state of fermentation, and both sides, by a call of the militia, 
are in arms. n No human foresight can discern, no conclu- 
sion can be formed, what turn a war might take, if once set 
on foot by an invasion. She is not now in a fit disposition 
to make a common cause of her own affairs, and having no 
conquests to hope for abroad, and nothing but expenses 
arising at home, her every thing is staked upon a defensive 
combat, and the further she goes the worse she is off. 

There are situations that a nation may be in, in which 
peace or war, abstracted from every other consideration, 
may be politically right or wrong. When nothing can be 
lost by a war, but what must be lost without it, war is then 
the policy of that country ; and such was the situation of 
America at the commencement of hostilities ; but when no 
security can be gained by a war, but what may be accom- 
plished by a peace, the case becomes reversed, and such now 
is the situation of England. 

That America is beyond the reach of conquest, is a fact 
which experience has shown and time confirmed, and this 
admitted, what, I ask, is now the object of contention? If 
there be any honor in pursuing self-destruction with inflexi- 
ble passion if national suicide be the perfection of national 
glory, you may, with all the pride 01 criminal happiness, 
expire unenvied and unrivalled. But when the tumult of 
war shall cease, and the tempest of present passions be suc- 
ceeded by calm reflection, or when those, who, surviving 
its fury, shall inherit from you a legacy of debts and 



112 THE CRISIS. 

fortunes, when the j >arly revenue shall scarcely be able tc 
discharge the intere&t of the one, and no possible remedy 
be left for the other, ideas, far different from the present, 
will arise, and imbitter the remembrance of former follies. 
A mind disarmed of its rage, feels no pleasure in contem- 
plating a frantic quarrel. Sickness of thought, the sure con- 
sequence of conduct like yours, leaves no ability for enjoy- 
ment, no relish for resentment ; and though, like a man in a 
fit, you feel not the injury of the struggle, nor distinguish 
between strength and disease, the weakness will neverthe- 
less be proportioned to the violence, and the sense of pain 
increase with the recovery. 

To what persons or to whose system of politics you owe 
your present state of wretchedness, is a matter of total in- 
difference to America. They have contributed, however, 
unwillingly, to set her above themselves, and she, in the 
tranquillity of conquest, resigns the inquiry. The case now 
is not so properly who began the war, as who continues it. 
That there are men in all countries to whom a Itate of war 
is a mine of wealth, is a fact never to be doubted. Char- 
acters like these naturally breed in the putrefaction of dis- 
tempered times, and after fattening on the disease, they 
perish with it, or, impregnated with the stench, retreat into 
obscurity. 

But there are several erroneous notions to which you like- 
wise owe a share of your misfortunes, and which, if con- 
tinued, will only increase your trouble and your losses. An 
opinion hangs about the gentlemen of the minority, that 
America would relish measures under their administration, 
which she would not from the present cabinet. On this 
rock lord Chatham would have split had he gained the helm, 
and several of his survivors are steering the same course. 
Such distinctions in the infancy of the argument had some 
degree of foundation, but they now serve no other purpose 
than to lengthen out a war, in which the limits of a dispute 
being fixed by the fate of arms, and guaranteed by trea- 
ties, are not to be changed or altered by trivial circum- 
stances. 

The ministry, and many of the minority, sacrifice their 
time in disputing on a question with whicii they have no- 
thing to do, namely, whether America shall be independent 
or not ? Whereas the only question that can come under 
their determination is, whether they will accede to it or not ? 
They confound a military question with a political one, and 



THE CRISIS. 113 

undertake to supply by a vote what they lost bv a battle. 
Say, she shall not be independent, and it will signify as much 
as if they voted against a decree of fate, or say that she shall, 
and she will be no more independent than before. Ques- 
tions, which when determined, cannot be executed, serve 
only to show the folly of dispute and the weakness of dia- 
putanta 

From a long habit of calling America your own, you 
suppose her governed by the same prejudices and conceits 
which govern yourselves. Because you have set up a par- 
ticular denomination of religion to the exclusion of all others, 
you imagine she must do the same, and because you, with 
an unsociable narrowness of mind, have cherished enmity 
against France and Spain, you suppose her alliance must be 
defective in friendship. Copying her notions of the world 
from you, she formerly thought as you instructed, but now 
feeling herself free, and the prejudice removed, she thinks 
and acts upon a different system. It frequently happens 
that in proportion as we are taught to dislike persons and 
countries, not knowing why, we feel an ardor of esteem upon 
the removal of the mistake : it seems as if something was to 
be made amends for, and we eagerly give into every office 
of friendship, to atone for the injury of the error. 

But, perhaps, there is something in the extent of countries, 
which, among the generality of people, insensibly communi- 
cates extension of the mind. The soul of an islander, in its 
native state, seems bounded by the foggy confines of the 
water's edge, and all beyond affords to him matters only for 
profit or curiosity, not for friendship. His island is to him 
his world, and fixed to that, his every thing centres in it ; 
vhile those, who are inhabitants of a continent, by casting 
taeir eye over a larger field, take in likewise a larger intel- 
lectual circuit, and thus approaching nearer to an acquaint- 
ance with the universe, their atmosphere of thought i 
extended, and their liberality fills a wider space. In short, 
oui' minds seem to be measured by countries when we are 
men, as they are by places when we are children, and until 
something happens to disentangle us from the prejudice, we 
serve under it without perceiving it. 

In addition to this, it may be remarked, that men who 
study anv universal science, the principles of which are 
universally known, or admitted, and applied without dis- 
tinction to the common benefit of all countries, obtain there- 
by a larger share of philanthropy than those who only study 



114 THE CRISIS. 

national arts and improvements. Natural philosophy, 
mathematics and astronomy, carry the mind from the countrv 
to the creation, and give it a fitness suited to the extent, fib 
was not Newton's honor, neither could it be his pride, that 
he was an Englishman, but that he was a philosopher ; the 
heavens had liberated him from the prejudices of an island, 
and science had expanded his soul as boundless as hit/ 
studies. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, Jtarch, 1780. 



NUMBER IX. 

HAT> America pursued her advantages with half the spirit 
that she resisted her misfortunes, she would, before now, 
have been a conquering and a peaceful people ; but lulled 
in the lap of soft tranquillity, she rested on her hopes, and 
adversity only has convulsed her into action. Whether sub- 
tlety or sincerity at the close of the last year, induced the 
enemy to an appearance for peace, is a point not material 
to know : it is sufficient that we see the effects it has had on 
our politics, and that we sternly rise to resent the delusion. 

The war, on the part of America, has been a war of na- 
tural feelings. Brave in distress ; serene in conquest ; drowsy 
while at rest ; and in every situation generously disposed to 
peace. A dangerous calm, and a most heightened zeal, 
have, as circumstances varied, succeeded each other. Every 
passion, but that of despair, has been called to a tour of 
duty ; and so mistaken has been the enemy, of our abilities 
and disposition, that when she supposed us conquered, we 
rose the conquerors. The extensiveness of the United States, 
and the variety of their resources ; the universality of their 
cause, the quick operation of their feelings, and the similar- 
ity of their sentiments, have, in every trying situation, pro- 
duced a something, which, favored by providence, and pur- 
sued with ardor, has accomplished in an instant the business 
of a campaign. We have never deliberately sought victory, 
but snatcned it : and bravely undone in an hour, the blotted 
operations of a season. 

The reported fate of Charleston, like the misfortune* of 



THE CRI8I8. ] 15 

1776, has at last called forth a spirit, and kindled up a 
flame, which perhaps no other event could have produced. 
If the enemy has circulated a falsehood, they have unwisely 
aggravated us into life, and if they have told us a truth, 
they have unintentionally done us a service. "We were re- 
turning with folded arms from the fatigues of war, and think- 
ing and sitting leisurely down to enjoy repose. The depend- 
ence that has been put upon Charleston threw a drowsiness 
over America. We looked on the business done the conflict 
over the matter settled or that all which remained unfin- 
ished would follow of itself. In this state of dangerous re- 
laxation, exposed to the poisonous infusions of the enemy, 
and having no common danger to attract our attention, we 
were extinguishing, by stages, the ardor we began with, and 
surrendering by piece-meals the virtue that defended us. 

Ainicting as the loss of Charleston may be, yet if it uni 
versally rouse us from the slumber of twelve months past, 
and renew in us the spirit of former days, it will produce an 
advantage more important than its loss. America ever is 
what she thinks herself to be. Governed by sentiment, and 
acting her own mind, she becomes, as she pleases the victor 
or the victim. 

It is not the conquest of towns, nor the accidental capture 
of garrisons, that can reduce a country so extensive as this. 
The sufferings of one part can never be relieved by the ex- 
ertions of another, and there is no situation the enemy can 
be placed in, that does not afford to us the same advantages 
he seeks himself. . By dividing his force, he leaves every 
post attackable. It is a mode of war that carries with it a 
confession of weakness, and goes on the principle of 4istre&s, 
rather than conquest. 

The decline of the enemy is visible, not only in their ope 
rations, but in their plans ; Charleston originally made but 
a secondary object in the system of attack, and it is now be- 
come the principal one, because they have not been able to 
succeed elsewhere. It would have carried a cowardly ap 
pearance in Europe had they formed their grand expedition, 
in 1776, against a part of tne continent where there was no 
army, or not a sufficient one to oppose them ; but failing 
year after year in their impressions here, and to the eastward 
ind northward, they deserted their capital design, and pru- 
dently contenting themselves with what they could get, give 
a flourish of honor to conceal disgrace. 

But this piece-meal work is not conquering the continent 



116 THE OBI8I8. . 

It is a discredit in them to attempt it, and in us to suffer it. 
It is now full time to put an end to a v? ar of aggravations, 
which, on one side, has no possible object, and on the other, 
has every inducement whicn honor, interest, safety and hap- 
piness can inspire. If we suffer them much longer to re- 
main among us, we shall become as bad as themselves. An 
association of vice will reduce us more than the aword. A 
nation hardened in the practice of iniquity knows better how 
to profit by it, than a young country newly corrupted. We 
are not a match for them in the line of advantageous guilt, 
nor they for us on the principles which we bravely set out 
with. Our first days were our days of honor. They have 
marked the character of America wherever the story of her 
wars are told : and convinced of this, we have nothing to 
do, but wisely and unitedly tread the well known track. 
The progress of a war is often as ruinous to individuals, as 
the issue of it is to a nation ; and it is not only necessary that 
our forces be such that we be conquerors in the end, but 
that by timely exertions we be secure in the interim. The 
present campaign will afford an opportunity which has 
never presented itself before, and the preparations for it are 
equally necessary, whether Charleston stand or fall. Sup- 
pose the first, it is in that case only a failure of the enemy, 
not a defeat. All the conquest that a besieged town can 
hope for, is, not to be conquered ; and compelling an enemy 
to raise the siege, is to the besieged a victory. But there 
must be a probability amounting almost to certainty, that 
would justify a garrison marching out to attack a retreat. 
Therefore should Charleston not be taken, and the enemy 
abandon the siege, every other part of the continent should 
prepare to meet them ; and, on the contrary, should it be 
taken, the same preparations are necessary to balance the 
loss, and put ourselves in a condition to co-operate with our 
allies, immediately on their arrival. 

"We are not now fighting our battles alone, as we were in 
1776 ; England, from a malicious disposition to America, 
has not only not declared war against France and Spain, 
but the better to prosecute her passions here, has afforded 
those powers no military object, and avoids them, to distress 
us. She will suffer her West India islands to be overrun by 
France, and her southern settlements to be taken by Spain, 
rather than quit the object that gratifies her revenge. This 
conduct, on me part of Britain, has pointed out the propriety 
')f France sending a na T 'al arid land force to co-operate wito 



THE CRISIS. 117 

America on the spot. Their arrival cannot be very distant, 
nor the ravages of the enemy long. The recruiting the army, 
and procuring the supplies, are the two things most necessary 
to be accomplished, and a capture of either of the enemy s 
divisions will restore to America peace and plenty. 

At a crisis, big, like the present, with expectation and 
events, the whole country is called to unanimity and exer- 
tion. Not an ability ought now to sleep, that can produce 
but a mite to the general good, nor even a whisper to pass 
that militates against it. The necessity of the case, and the 
importance of the consequences, admit no delay from a friend, 
no apology from an enemy. To spare now, would be the 
height of extravagance, and to consult present ease, would 
be to sacrifice it perhaps forever. 

America, rich in patriotism and produce, can want neither 
men nor supplies, when a serious necessity calls them forth. 
The slow operation of taxes, owing to the extensiveness of 
collection, and their depreciated value before they arrived in 
the treasury, have, in many instances, thrown a burden upon 
government, which has been artfully interpreted by the 
enemy into a general decline throughout the country. Yet 
this, inconvenient as it may at first appear, is not only 
remediable, but may be turned to an immediate advantage ; 
for it makes no real difference, whether a certain number of 
men, or company of militia (and in this country every man 
is a militia-man) are directed by law to send a recruit at 
their own expense, or whether a tax is laid on them for that 
purpose, and the man hired by government afterwards. The 
nrst x if there is any difference, is both cheapest and best, 
because it saves the expense which would attend collecting 
it as a tax, and brings the man sooner into the field than the 
modes of recruiting formerly used ; and, on this principle, a 
law has been passed in this state, for recruiting two men 
from each company of militia, which will add upwards of a 
thousand to the force of the country. 

But the flame which has broke forth in this city since the 
report from New York, of the loss of Charleston, not only 
does honor to the plac, but, like the blaze of 1776, will 
kindle into action the scattered sparks throughout America. 
The valor of a country may be learned by the bravery of its 
soldiery, and the general cast of its inhabitants, but confi- 
dence of success is best discovered by the active measures 
pursued by men of property ; and when the spirit of inter- 
prise becomes so universal as to act at om-e on all ranks of 



118 THE CRISIS. 

men. a war may then, and not till then, be styled truly 
popular. 

In 1776, the ardor of the enterprising part was considera- 
bly checked by the real revolt of some, and the coolness ol 
others. But in the present case, there is a firmness in the 
substance and property of the country to the public cause. 
An association has been entered into by the merchants, 
tradesmen, and principal inhabitants of the city, to receive 
and support the new state money at the value of gold and 
silver ; a measure which, while it does them honor, will 
likewise contribute to their interest, by rendering the opera- 
tions of the campaign convenient and effectual. 

Nor has the spirit of exertion stopped here. A voluntary 
subscription is likewise begun, to raise a fund of hard money, 
to be given as bounties, to fill up the full quota of the 
Pennsylvania line. It has been the remark 01 the enemy, 
that every thing in America has been done by the force of 
government; but when she sees individuals throwing in 
their voluntary aid, and facilitating the public measures in 
concert with the established powers of the country, it will 
convince her that the cause of America stands not on the 
will of a few, but on the broad foundation of property and 
popularity. 

Thus aided and thus supported, disaffection will decline, 
and the withered head of tyranny expire in America. The 
ravages of the enemy will be short and limited, and like all 
their former ones, will produce a victory over themselves. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, June 9, 1780. 

ISgr' At the time of writing this number of the Crisis, 
the loss of Charleston, though believed by some, was more 
confidently disbelieved by others. But there ought to be 
no longer a doubt upon the matter. Charleston is gone, 
and I believe for the want of a sufficient supply of provisions. . 
The man that does not now feel for the honor of the bert and 
noblest cause that ever a country engaged in, and exert 
himself accordingly, is no longer worthy of a peaceable 
residence among a people determined to be free. S. 



THE CRISIS. 119 

NUMBEK X. 
ON THE SUBJECT OF TAXATION. 

IT is impossible to sit down and think seriously on the 
affairs of America, but the original principles on which she 
resisted, and the glow and ardor which they inspired, will 
occur like the undefaced remembrance of a lovely scene. Tt 
trace over in imagination the purity of the cause, the volun 
tary sacrifices that were made to support it, and all th* 
various turnings of the war in its defence, is at once both 
paying and receiving respect. The principles deserve to be 
remembered, and to remember them rightly is repossessing 
them. In this indulgence of generous recollection, we become 
gainers by what we seem to give, and the more we bestow 
tne richer we become. 

So extensively right was the ground on which America 
proceeded, that it not only took in every just and liberal 
sentiment which could impress the heart, but made it the 
direct interest of every class and order of men to defend the 
country. The war, on the part of Britain, was originally a 
war oi covetousness. The sordid, and not the splendid 
passions gave it being. The fertile fields and prosperous 
infancy of America appeared to her as mines for tributary 
wealth. She viewed the hive, and disregarding the industry 
that had enriched it, thirsted for the noney. But in the 
present stage of her affairs, the violence of temper is added 
to the rage of avarice ; and therefore, that which at the first 
aetting out proceeded from purity of principle and public 
interest, is now heightened by all the obligations of necessity ; 
for it requires but little knowledge of human nature to dis- 
cern what would be the consequences, were America again 
reduced to the subjection of Britain. Uncontrolled power, 
in the hands of an incensed, imperious, and rapacious con- 
queror, is an engine of dreadful execution, and wo be to 
that country over which it can be exercised. The names of 
whig and tory would then be sunk in the general term of 
rebel, and the oppression, whatever it might be, would, with 
very few instances of exception, light equally on all. 

Britain did not go to war with America for the sake of 
dominion, because she was then in possession ; neither was 
it for the extension of trade and commerce, because she had 



L-20 THE CEISIS. 

monopolized the whole, and the country had yielded to it j 
neither was it to extinguish what she might call rebellion, 
because before she began no resistance existed. It could 
then be from no other motive than avarice, or a design of 
establishing, in the first instance, the same taxes in America 
as are paid in England (which, as I shall presently show, are 
above eleven times heavier than the taxes we now pay for 
the present year, 1T80) or, in the second instance, to confis- 
cate the whole property of America, in case of resistance 
and conquest of the latter, of which she had then no doubt. 

I shall now proceed to show what the taxes in England 
are, and what the yearly expense of the present war is to 
her what the taxes of this country amount to, and what 
the annual expense of defending it effectually will be to us ; 
and shall endeavor concisely to point out the cause of our 
difficulties, and the advantages on one side, and the conse- 
quences on the other, in case we do, or do not, put ourselves 
in an effectual state of defence. I mean to be open, candid, 
and sincere. I see a universal wish to expel the enemy from 
the country, a murmuring because the war is not carried on 
with more vigor, and my intention is to show, as shortly as 
possible, both the reason and the remedy. 

The number of souls in England (exclusive of Scotland 
and Ireland) is seven millions,* and the number of souls in 
America is three millions. 

The amount of taxes in England (exclusive of Scotland 
and Ireland) was, before the present war commenced, eleven 
millions six hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred 
and fifty-three pounds sterling ; which, on an average, is no 
less a sum than one pound thirteen shillings and three-pence 
sterling per head per annum, men, women and children \ 
besides county taxes, for the support of the poor, and 
a tenth of all the produce of the earth for the support of 
the bishops and clergy. Nearly five millions of this sum 
went annually to pay the interest of the national debt, con- 
tracted by former wars, and the remaining sum of six mil- 
lions six hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred pounds 
was applied to defray the yearly expense of government, 
the peace establishment of the army and navy, placemen, 
pensioners, &c., consequently, the whole of the enormous 
taxee being thus appropriated, she had nothing to spare out 
of them towards defraying the expenses of the present war 

* This is taking the highest number that th*> people of England hare 
or can be rated at. 



121 

or any other.* Yet had she not been in debt at the begin- 
ning of the war, as we were not, and, like ns, had only a 
land and not a naval war to carry on, her then revenue of 
eleven millions and a half pounds sterling would have 
defrayed all her annual expenses of war and government 
within each year. 

But this not being the case with her, she is obliged to 
borrow about ten millions pounds sterling, yearly, to prose- 
cute the war that she is now engaged in, (this year she bor- 
rowed twelve) and lay on new taxes to discharge the interest ; 
allowing that the present war has cost her only fifty millions 
sterling, the interest thereon, at five per cent.; will be two 
millions and an half; therefore the amount of her taxes now 
must be fourteen millions, which on an average is no less than 
forty shillings sterling, per head men, women and children, 
throughout the nation. Now as this expense of fifty mil- 
lions was borrowed on the hopes of conquering America, 
and as it was avarice which first induced ner to commence 
the war, how truly wretched and deplorable would the con- 
dition of this country be, were she, by her own remissness, 
to suffer an enemy of such a disposition, and so circum- 
stanced, to reduce her to subjection. 

I now proceed to the revenues of America. 

* The following is taken from Dr. Price's state of the taxes of England, 
p. 96, 97, 98. 

An account of the money drawn from the public by taxes, annually, being 
the medium of three years before the year 1*776. 

Amount of customs in England. 2,528,2757. 

Amount of the excise in England 4,649,892 

Land tax at 8* 1,800,000 

Land tax at Is. in the pound 450,000 

Salt duties 218,789 

Duties on stamps, cards, dice, advertisements, bonds, leases, 

indentures, newspapers, almanacks, &c. . 280,788 

Duties on houses and windows 885,369 

Post office, seizures, wine licences, hackney coaches, Ac.. . 260,000 

Annual profits from lotteries 150,000 

Expense of collecting the excise in England 297,887 

Expense of collecting the customs in England 468,700 

Interest of loans on the land tax at 4s. expenses of collec- 
tion, militia, &c 260,000 

Perquisites, &c to custom-house officers, &c. supposed. .. 250,000 
Expense of collecting the salt duties in England 10 1-2 per 

cent 27,000 

Bounties, on fish exported 18,000 

Expense of collecting the duties on stamps, cards, adver- 
tisements, &c. at 5 and 1-4 per cent 18,000 

Total, ll,642,fl53J. 



122 THE CRISIS. 

I have already stated the number of souls in America to- 
be three millions, and by a calculation that I have made, 
which I have every reason to believe is sufficiently correct, 
the whole expense of the war, and the support of the seve- 
ral governments, may^ be defrayed by two million pounds 
sterling annually ; which, on an average, is thirteen shillings 
and four pence per head, men, women, and children, and the 
peace establishment at the end of the war, will be but three 
quarters of a million, or five shillings sterling per head. 
Kow, throwing out of the question every thing of honor, 
principle, happiness, freedom and reputation in the world, 
and taking it up on the simple ground of interest, I put the 
following case : 

Suppose Britain was to conquer America, and, as a con- 
queror, was to lay her under no other conditions than to pay 
the same proportion towards her annual revenue which the 
people of England pay ; our share, in that case, would be 
six million pounds sterling yearly ; can it then be a question, 
whether it is best to raise two millions to defend the coun- 
try, and govern it ourselves, and only three quarters of a 
million afterwards, or pay six millions to have it conquered, 
and let the enemy govern it ? 

Can it be supposed that conquerors would choose to put 
themselves in a worse condition than what they granted to 
the conquered ? In England, the tax on rum is five shil- 
lings and one penny sterling per gallon, which is one silver 
dollar and fourteen coppers. Now would it not be laugha- 
ble to imagine, that after the expense they have been at, 
they would let either whig or tory drink it cheaper than 
themselves ? Coffee, which is so inconsiderable an article 
of consumption and support here, is there loaded with a 
duty, which makes the price between five and six shillings 
per pound, and a penalty of fifty pounds sterling on any 
person detected in roasting it in his own house. There is 
scarcely a necessary of life that you can eat, drink, wear, or 
enjoy, that is not there loaded with a tax ; even the light 
from heaven is only permitted to shine into their dwellings 
by paying eighteen pence sterling per window annually ; 
and the humblest drink of life, small beer, cannot there be 
purchased without a tax of nearly two coppers per gallon, 
besides a heavy tax upon the malt, and another on the hops 
before it is brewed, exclusive of a land-tax on the earth 
which produces them. In -short, the condition of that coun- 
try, in point of taxation, is so oppressive, the number of her 



THE CRISIS. 123 

poor so great, and the extravagance and rapaciousness of 
the court BO enormous, that, were they to effect a conquest 
of America, it is then only that the distresses of America 
would begin. Neither would it signify any thing to a man 
whether he be whig or tory. The people of England, and 
the ministry of that country, know us by no such distinc- 
tions. What they want is clear, solid revenue, and the 
modes which they would take to procure it would operate 
alike on all. Their manner of reasoning would be short, 
because they would naturally infer, that if we were able to 
carry on a war of five or six years against them, we were 
able to pay the same taxes which they do. 

I have already stated that the expense of conducting the 
present war, and the government 01 the several states, may 
be done for two millions sterling, and the establishment in 
the time of peace, for three quarters of a million.* 

As to navy matters, they nourish so well, and are so well 
attended to by individuals, that I think it consistent on 
every principle of real use and economy, to turn the navy 
into hard money (keeping only three or four packets) and 
apply it to the service of the army. We shall not have a 
ship the less ; the use of them, and the benefit from them, 
will be greatly increased, and their expense saved. We are 
now allied with a formidable naval power, from whom we 
derive the assistance of a navy. And the line in which we 
can prosecute the war, so as to reduce the common enemv 
and benefit the alliance most effectually, will be by attend- 
ing closely to the land service. 

I estimate the charge of keeping up and maintaining an 
army, officering them, and all expenses included, sufficient 
for the defence of the country, to oe equal to the expense of 
forty thousand men at thirty pounds sterling per head, which 
is one million two hundred thousand pounds. 

I likewise allow four hundred thousand pounds for conti- 
nental expenses at home and abroad. 

And four hundred thousand pounds for the support of the 
several state governments the amount will then oe, 

Forthearmy 1,200,OOOJ. 

Continental expenses at home and abroad 400,000 

Government of the several states 400,000 

Total 2,000,000*. 

* I have made the calculations In sterling, because it is a rate generally 
known in all the states, and because, likewise, it admits of an easy comparison 
between our expense to support the war, and those of the enemy. Four silver 
dollar? and a half is one pound b'.erluur md three pence over. 



124 THE OKI8I8. 

I take the proportion of this state, Pennsylvania, to be an 
eighth part of the thirteen United States ; the quota then 
for us to raise will be two hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
.sterling ; two hundred thousand of which will be our share 
for the support and pay of the army, and continental ex- 
penses at home and abroad, and fifty thousand pounds foi 
the support of the state government. 

In order to gain an idea of the proportion in which the 
raising such a sum will fall, I make the following cal- 
culation. 

Pennsylvania contains three hundred and seventy-five 
thousand inhabitants, men, women and children ; which is 
likewise an eighth of the number of inhabitants of the 
whole United States ; therefore two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand pounds sterling to be raised among three hundred and 
seventy-five thousand persons, is, on an average, thirteeen 
shillings and four pence per head, per annum, or something 
more than one shilling sterling per month. And our pro- 
portion of three quarters of a million for the government of 
the country, in time of peace, will be ninety-three thousand 
seven hundred and fifty pounds sterling ; fifty thousand of 
which will be for the government expenses of the state, and 
forty-three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds for con- 
tinental expenses at home and abroad. 

The peace establishment then will, on an average, be five 
shillings sterling per head. Whereas, was England now to 
stop, and the war cease, her peace establishment would con- 
tinue the same as it now is, viz. forty shillings per head ; 
therefore was our taxes necessary for carrying on the war, 
as much per head as hers now is, and the difference to be 
only whether we should, at the end of the war, pay at the 
rate of five shillings per head, or forty shillings per head, 
the case needs no thinking of. But as we can securely de- 
fend and keep the country for one third less than what our 
burden would be if it was conquered, and support the go- 
vernments afterwards for one eighth of what Britain would 
levy on us, and could I find a miser whose heart never felt 
the emotion of a spark of principle, even that man, unin- 
fluenced by every love but the love of money, and capable 
of no attachment but to his interest, would and must, from 
the frugality which governs him, contribute to the defence 
of the country, or he ceases to be a miser and becomes an 
idiot. But whefti we take in with it every thing that can 
ornament mankind ; when the line of our interest becomes 
the line of our happiness* when all that can cheer and 



THE CRISIS. 12$ 

ay mate the heart; when a sense of honor, fame, character, 
at home and abroad, are interwoven not only with the 
sec arity but the increase of property, there exists not a man 
in America, unless he be an hired emissary, who does not 
see that his good is connected with keeping up a sufficient 
defence. 

I do not imagine that an instance can be produced in the 
woild, of a country putting herself to such an amazing charge 
to conquer and enslave another, as Britain has done. The 
gum is too great for her to think of with any tolerable degree 
of temper ; and when we consider the burden she sustains, 
as well as the disposition she has shown, it would be the 
height of folly in us to suppose that she would not reimburse 
herself by the most rapid means, had she America once more 
within her power. With such an oppression of expense, 
what would an empty conquest be to her! What relief 
under such circumstances could she derive from a victory 
without a prize ? It was money, it was revenue she first 
went u> war for, and nothing but that would satisfy her. It 
is not the nature of avarice to be satisfied with any thing 
else. Every passion that acts upon mankind has a peculiar 
mode of operation. Many of them are temporary and 
fluctuating ; they admit of cessation and variety. But ava- 
rice is a fixed, uniform passion. It neither abates of its vigor 
nor changes its object ; and the reason why it does pot, ia 
founded in the nature of things, for wealth has not a rival 
where avarice is a ruling passion. One beauty mav excel 
another, and extinguish from the mind of man the pictured 
remembrance of a former one : but wealth is the phoenix of 
avarice, and therefore cannot seek a new object, because 
there is not another in the world. 

I now pass on to show the value of the present taxes, and 
compare them with the annual expense ; but this I shall 
preface with a few explanatory remarks. 

There are two distinct things which make the payment 
of taxes difficult ; the one is the large and real value of the 
sum to be paid, and the other is the scarcity of the thing in 
which the payment is to be made ; and although these ap- 
pear to be one and the same, they are in several instances 
not only different, but the difficulty springs from different 
causes. 

Suppose a tax to be laid equal to one half of what a man's 
yearly income is, such a tax could not be paid, because the 
property could not be spared ; and on the other hand, sup- 



126 THE CRISIS. 

pose a very trifling tax was laid, to be collected in pearh, 
such a tax likewise could not be paid, because they could 
not be had. Now any person may see that these are distinct 
cases, and the latter of them is a representation of our own. 

That the difficulty cannot proceed from the former, that 
is, from the real value or weight of the tax, is evident at the 
first view to any person who will consider it. 

The amount of the quota of taxes for this state, for the 
present year, 1780, (and so in proportion for every other 
state) is twenty millions of dollars, which, at seventy for one> 
is but sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds 
three shillings sterling, and on an average, is no more than 
three shillings and fivepence sterling per head, per annum, 
per man, woman and child, or threepence two-fifths per head 
per month. Now here is a clear, positive fact, that cannot 
be contradicted, and which proves that the difficulty cannot 
be in the weight of the tax, for in itself it is a trifle, and far 
from being adequate to our quota of the expense of the war. 
The quit-rents of one penny sterling per acre on only one 
half oil the state, come to upwards of fifty thousand pounds, 
which is almost as much as all the taxes of the present year, 
and as those quit-rents made no part of the taxes then paid, 
and are now discontinued, the quantity of money drawn for 
public service this year, exclusive of the militia fines, which 
I shall take notice of in the process of this work, is less than 
ivhat was paid and payable in any year preceding the 
revolution, and since the last war; what I mean is, that 
the quit-rents and taxes taken together came to a larger sum 
then, than the present taxes without the quit-rents do now. 

My intention by these arguments and calculations is to 
place the difficulty to the right cause, and show that it does 
not proceed from the weight or worth of the tax, but from 
the scarcity of the medium in which it is paid ; and to illus- 
trate this point still further, I shall now show, that if the 
tax of twenty millions of dollars was of four times the real 
value it now is, or nearly so, which would be about two hun- 
dred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, and would be our 
full quota, this sum would have been raised with more ease, 
and have been less felt, than the present sum of only sixty- 
four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds. 

The convenience or inconvenience of paying a tax in 
money arises from the quantity of money that can be 
spared out of trade. 

When the emissions stopped, the continent was left ID 



THE CRISIS. 127 

possession of two hundred millions of dollars, perhaps as 
equally dispersed as it was possible for trade to do it. And 
as no more was to be issued, the rise or fall of prices could 
neither increase nor diminish the quantity. It therefore 
remained the same through all the fluctuations of trade and 
exchange. 

Now nad the exchange stood at twenty for one, which 
was the rate congress calculated upon when they arranged 
the quota of the several states, the latter end of last year, 
trade would have been carried on for nearly four times less 
money than it is now, and consequently the twenty millions 
would have been spared with much greater ease, and when 
collected would have been of almost four times the value that 
they now are. And on the other hand, was the depreciation to 
be ninety or one hundred for one, the quantity required for 
trade would be more than at sixty or seventy for one, and 
though the value of them would be less, the difficulty of 
sparing the money out of trade would be greater. And on 
tnese facts and arguments I rest the matter, to prove that it 
is not the want of property, but the scarcity of the medium 
by which the proportion of property for taxation is to be 
measured out, that makes the embarrassment which we lie 
under. There is not money enough, and, what is equally as 
true, the people will not let there be money enough. 

While I am on the subject of the currency, I shall offei 
one remark which will appear true to every body, and caL 
be accounted for by nobody, which is, that the better th 
times were, the worse the money grew ; and the worse the 
times were, the better the money stood. It never depreciated 
by any advantage obtained by the enemy. The troubles o^ 
1776, and the loss of Philadelphia in 1777, made no sensible 
impression on it, and every one knows that the surrender of 
Charleston did not produce the least alteration in the rate 
of exchange, which, for long before, and for more than three 
months after, stood at sixty for one. It seems as if the cer- 
tainty of its being our own, made us careless of its value, 
and that the most distant thoughts of losing it made us hug 
it the closer, like something we were loth to part with ; or 
that we depreciate it for our pastime, which, when called to 
seriousness by the enemy, we leave off to renew again at our 
leisure. In snort, our good luck seems to break us, and our 
bad makes us whole. 

Passing on from this digression, I shall now endeavor to 
bring into one view the several parts which I have already 



128 THE CRISIS. 

stated, and form thereon, some propositions, and con- 
clude. 

I have placed before the reader, the average tax per head, 
paid by the people of England : which is forty shillings 
sterling. 

And I have shown the rate on an average per head, which 
will defray all the expenses of the war to ns, and support 
the several governments without running the country into 
debt, which is thirteen shillings and fourpence. 

I have shown what the peace establishment may be con- 
ducted for, viz. an eighth part of what it would be, if under 
the government of Britain. 

And I have likewise shown what the average per head of 
the present taxes are, namely, three shillings and fivepence 
sterling, or threepence two-nfths per month; and that their 
whole yearly value, in sterling, is only sixty-four thousand 
two hundred and eighty pounds. Whereas our quota, to 
keep the payments equal with the expenses, is two hundred 
and fifty thousand pounds. Consequently, there is a defi- 
ciency of one hundred and eighty-five thousand seven hun- 
dred and twenty pounds, and the same proportion of defect, 
according to the several quotas, happens in every othei 
state. And this defect is the cause why the army has been 
so indifferently fed, clothed and paid. It is the cause, like- 
wise, of the nerveless state of the campaign, and the insecu- 
rity of the country. Now, if a tax equal to thirteen and 
fourpence per head, will remove all these difficulties, and 
make the people secure in their homes, leave them to follow 
the business of their stores and farms unmolested, and not 
only keep out, but drive out the enemy from the country ; 
and if the neglect of raising this sum will let them in, and 
produce the evils which might be prevented on which side, 
I ask, does the wisdom, interest and policy lie ? Or, rather, 
would it not be an insult to reason, to put the question ? 
The sum when proportioned out according to the several 
abilities of the people, can hurt no one, but an inroad from 
the enemy ruins hundreds of families. 

Look at the destruction done in this city. The many 
houses totally destroyed, and others damaged ; the waste of 
fences in the country around it, besides tha plunder of fur- 
niture, forage, and provisions. I do not suppose that half 
a million sterling would reinstate the sufferers; and does 
this, I ask, bear any proportion to the expBnse that would 
make us secure. The damage, on an average, is at least 



THE OBI8I8. 18S 

len pounds i.terling per head, which is as much as thirteen 
shillings and four pence per head comes to for fifteen years. 
The same has happened on the frontiers, and in the Jerseys, 
New- York, and other places where the enemy has been 
Carolina and Georgia are likewise suffering the same fate. 

That the people generally do not understand the insuffi 
eiency of the taxes to carry on the war, is evident, not only 
from common observation, but from the construction of sev- 
eral petitions, which were presented to the assembly of this 
state against the recommendations of congress of the 18th 
of March last, for taking up and funding the present cur- 
rency at forty for one, and issuing new money in its stead. 
The prayer of the petition was, that the currency might be 
appreciated by taxes (meaning the present taxes) and that 
part of the taxes be applied to the support of the army, if the 
army could not be otherwise supported. *Now it could not 
have been possible for such a petition to have been pre- 
sented, had the petitioners known, that so far from part of 
the taxes being sufficient for the support of the army, the 
whole of them falls three-fourths short of the year s ex- 
penses. 

Before I proceed to propose methods by which a sufficiency 
of money may be raised, I shall take a short view of the 
general state of the Country. 

Notwithstanding the weight of the war, the ravages of 
the enemy, and the obstructions she has thrown in the way 
of trade and commerce, so soon does a young country out- 
grow misfortune, that America has already surmounted 
many that heavily oppressed her. For the first year or two 
of the war, we were snut up within our ports, scarce ven- 
turing to look towards the ocean. Now our rivers are 
beautified with large and valuable vessels, our stores filled 
with merchandize, and the produce of the country has a 
ready market, and an advantageous price. Gold and silver, 
chat for a while seemed to have retreated again within the 
bowels of the earth, have once more risen into circulation, 
and every day adds new strength to trade, commerce and 
agricuUme. lii a pamphlet, written by Sir John Dalrymple, 
and dispersed in America in the year 1775, he asserted, that, 
two tu>6ti</-(fun shtps, nay, say he, tenders of those ships, 
stationed oetfioeen Albemarle sound and Chesapeake bay, 
would ghi*t up the trade of America for 600 rrvdes. How 
little did Sii ( t)ouu. Dalrymple know of the abilities of 
A men* c. 



130 THE CRISIS. 

While under the government of Britain, the trade of this 
country was loaded with restrictions. It was only a few 
foreign ports which we were allowed to sail to. Now it is 
otherwise ; and allowing that the quantity of trade is but 
half what it was before the war, the case must show the vast 
advantage of an open trade, because the present quantity 
under her restrictions could not support itself; from which. 
I infer, that if half the quantity without the restrictions can 
bear itself up nearly, if not quite, as well as the whole when 
subject to them, now prosperous must the condition of 
America be when the whole shall return open with all the 
world. By the trade I do not mean the employment of a 
merchant only, but the whole interest and business of the 
country taken collectively. 

It is not so much my intention, by this publication, to 
propose particular plans for raising money, as it is to show 
the necessity and the advantages to be derived from it. My 
principal design is to form the disposition of the people to 
the measures which I am fully persuaded it is their interest 
and duty to adopt, and which needs no other force to accom- 
plish them than the force of being felt. But as every hint may 
be useful, I shall throw out a sketch, and leave others to 
make such improvements upon it as to them may appear 
reasonable. 

The annual sum wanted is two millions, and the average 
rate in which it falls, is thirteen shillings and fourpence per 
head. 

Suppose, then, that we raise half the sum and sixty thou- 
sand pounds over. The average rate thereof will be seven 
shillings per head. 

In this case we shall have half the supply that we want, 
and an annual fund of sixty thousand pounds whereon to 
borrow the other million ; because sixty thousand pounds is 
the interest of a million at six per cent. ; and if at the end 
of another year we should be obliged, by the continuance 
of the war, to borrow another million, the taxes will be 
increased to seven shillings and sixpence; and thus for 
every million borrowed, an additional tax, equal to sixpence 
per head, must be levied. 

The sum to be raised next year will be one million and 
sixty thousand pounds : one half of which I would propose 
should be raised by duties on imported goods, and prize 
goods, and the other half by a tax on landed property and 
nouses, or such other means as each state may devise. 



THE CRISIS. 131 

But as the duties oo imports and prize goods mast be the 
same in all the states, therefore the rate per cent, or what 
other form the duty snail be laid, must be ascertained and 
regulated by congress, and ingrafted in that form into the 
law of each state ; and the monies arising therefrom carried 
into the treasury of each state. The duties to be paid in 
gold or siiver. 

There are many reasons why a duty on imports is the 
most convenient duty or tax that can be collected ; one of 
which is, because the whole is payable in a few places in a 
country, and it likewise operates with the greatest ease and 
equality, because as every one pays in proportion to what 
he consumes, so people in general consume in proportion to 
what they can afford, and therefore the tax is regulated by 
the abilities which every man supposes himself to have, or 
in other words, every man becomes his own assessor, and 
pays by a little at a time, when it suits him to buy. 
Besides it is a tax which people may pay or let alone by not 
consuming the articles ; and though the alternative may have 
no influence on their conduct, the power of choosing is an 
agreeable thing to the mind. For my own part, it would 
be a satisfaction to me, was there a duty on all sorts of 
liquors during the war, as in my idea of things it would be 
an addition to the pleasures of society, to know, that when 
the health of the army goes round, a few drops from every 
glass become theirs. How often have I heard an emphati- 
cal wish, almost accompanied with a tear, " Oh, that our 
poor fellows in the field had some of this /" Why, then, need 
we suffer under a fruitless sympathy when there is a way 
to enjoy both the wish and the entertainment at once ? 

But the great national policy of putting a duty upon 
imports is, that it either keeps the foreign trade in our 
hands, or draws something for the defence of the country 
from every foreigner who participates it with us. 

Thus much for the first half of the taxes, and as each state 
will best devise means to raise the other half, I shall confine 
my remarks to the resources of this state. 

The quota, then, of this state, of one million and sixty 
thousand pounds, will be one hundred and thirty-three thou- 
sand two hundred and fifty pounds, the half of which is sixty- 
six thousand six hundred and twenty-five pounds ; and sup- 
posing one fourth part of Pennsylvania inhabited, then a 
tax or one bushel of wheat on every twenty acres of land, 
one with another, would produce the sum, and all the pre- 



132 THE CRISIS. 

Bent taxes to cease. Whereas, the tithes of the bishops and 
clergy in England, exclusive of the taxes, are upwards of 
half a bushel of wheat on. every single acre of land, good 
and bad, throughout the nation. 

In the former part of this paper, I mentioned the militia 
fines, but reserved speaking to the matter, which I shall now 
do. The ground I shall put it upon is, that two millions 
Bteiling a year will support a sufficient army, and all the 
expenses of war and government, without having recourse to 
the inconvenient method of continually calling men from 
their employments, which, of all others, is the most expen- 
sive and the least substantial. I consider the revenues 
created by taxes as the first and principal thing, and fines 
only as secondary .and accidental things. It was not the in- 
tention of the militia law to apply the fines to any thing 
else but the support of the militia, neither do they produce 
any revenue to the state, yet these fines amount to more 
than all the taxes : for taking the muster-roll to be sixty 
thousand men, the fine on forty thousand who may not 
attend, will be sixty thousand pounds sterling, and those 
who muster, will give up a portion of time equal to half that 
sum, and if the eight classes should be called within the 
year, and one third turn out, the fine on the remaining forty 
thousand would amount to seventy-two millions of dollars^ 
beside the fifteen shillings on every hundred pounds of pro- 
perty, and the charge of seven and a half per cent, for col- 
lecting, in certain instances, which, on the whole, would 
be upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds ster- 
ling. 

Now if those very fines disable the country from raising a 
sufficient revenue without producing an equivalent advan- 
tage, would it not be for the ease and interest of all parties 
to increase the revenue, in the manner I have proposed, or 
any better, if a better can be devised, and cease the opera- 
tion of the fines? I would still keep the militia as an 
organized body of men, and should there be a real neces- 
sity to call them forth, pay them out of the proper revenues 
of the state, and increase the taxes a third or fourth per cent. 
on those who do not attend. My limits will not allow me 
to go further into this matter, which I shall therefore close 
with this remark ; that fines are, of all modes of revenue, 
the most unsuited to the minds of a free country. When a 
man pays a tax, he kno\vs that the public necessity requires 
it, and therefore feels a pride in discharging his duty ; but 



THE CBISIS. 133 

a fine seems an atonement for neglect of duty, and of conse- 
quence is paid with discredit, and frequently levied with 
severity. 

I have now only one subject more to speak of, with which I 
shall conclude, which is, tne resolve of congress of the 18th 
of March last, for taking up and funding the present cur- 
rency at forty for one, and issuing new money in it& 
steaa. 

Every one knows that I am not the flatterer of congress, 
but in this instance they are right / and if that measure is 
supported, the currency will acquire a value, which, with- 
out it, it will not. But this is not all : it will give relief to 
the finances until such time as they can be properly ar- 
ranged, and save the country from being immediately 
double taxed under the present mode. In short, support 
that measure, and it will support you. 

I have now waded through a tedious course of difficult 
business, and over an untrodden path. The subject, on 
every point in which it could be viewed, was entangled with 
perplexities, and enveloped in obscurity, yet such are the 
resources of America, that she wants nothing but system to 
secure success. 

COMMON SENSIL. 

Philadelphia, Oct. 6, 1780. 



NUMBER XI. 
ON THE KING OF ENGLAND'S SPEECH. 

OF all the innocent passions which actuate the human 
mind, there is none more universally prevalent than curiosity, 
It reaches all mankind, and in matters which concern us, or 
concern us not, it alike provokes in us a desire to know 
them. 

Although the situation of America, superior to every 
eifort to enslave her, and daily rising to importance and opu- 
lence, hath placed her above the region of anxiety, it has 
still left her within the circle of curiosity ; and her fancy to 
see the speech of a man who had proudly threatened to bring 
her to his feet, was visibly marked with that tranquil con- 



134 THE CRISIS. 

fidence which cared nothing about its contents. It was in- 
quired after with a smile, read with a laugh, and dismissed 
with disdain. 

But, as justice is due, even to an enemy, it is right to say. 
that the speech is as well managed as the embarrassed con- 
dition of their affairs could well admit of ; and though hardly 
a line of it is true, except the mournful story of Cornwallis, 
it may serve to amuse the deluded commons and people of 
England, for whom it was calculated. 

" The war," says the speech, " is still unhappily prolonged 
by that restless ambition which first excited our enemies to 
commence it, and which still continues to disappoint my 
earnest wishes and diligent exertions to restore the public 
tranquillity." 

How easy it is to abuse truth and language, when men, by 
habitual wickedness, have learned to set justice at defiance. 
That the very man who began the war, who with the most 
sullen insolence refused to answer, and even to hear the 
humblest of all petitions, who hath encouraged his officers 
and his army in the most savage cruelties, and the most 
scandalous plunderings, who hath stirred up the Indians on 
one side, and the negroes on the other, and invoked every 
aid of hell in his behalf, should now, with an affected air of 
pity, turn the tables from himself, and charge to another the 
wickedness that is his own, can only be equalled by the base- 
ness of the heart that spoke it. 

To be nobly wrong is more manly than to be meanly right, 
is an expression I once used on a former occasion, and it is 
equally applicable now. "We feel something like respect for 
consistency even in error. We lament the virtue that is de- 
bauched into a vice, but the vice that affects a virtue becomes 
the more detestable : and amongst the various assumptions 
of character, which hypocrisy has taught, and men have prac 
tised, there is none that raises a higher relish of disgust, than 
to see disappointed inveteracy twisting itself, by the most 
visible falsehoods, into an appearance of piety which it has 
no pretensions to. 

" But I should not," continues the speech, " answer the 
trust committed to the sovereign of a free people, nor make 
a suitable return to my subjects for tneir constant, zealous, 
and affectionate attachment to my person, family and govern- 
ment, if I consented to sacrifice, either to my own desire of 
peace, or to their temporary ease and relief, those essential 
riohts and permanent interests, upon the maintenance and 



THE CRISIS. 135 

preset ation of which, the future strength and security of 
this country must principally depend." 

That the man whose ignorance and obstinacy first involved 
and still continues the nation in the most hopeless and ex- 
pensive of all wars, should now meanly flatter them with the 
name of a free people, and make a merit of his crime, under 
the disguise of their essential rights and permanent interests, 
is something which disgraces even the character of perverse- 
ness. Is he afraid they will send him to Hanover, or wjiat 
does he fear? "Why is the sycophant thus added to the 
hypocrite, and the man who pretends to govern, sunk into 
the humble and submissive memorialist ? 

What those essential rights and permanent interests are, 
on which the future strength and security of England must 
principally depend, are not so much as alluded to. They are 
words which impress nothing but the ear, and are calculated 
only for the sound. 

But if they have any reference to America, then do they 
amount to the disgraceful confession, that England, who 
once assumed to be her protectress, has now become her 
dependant. The British king and ministry are constantly 
holding up the vast importance which America is of to Eng- 
land, in order to allure the nation to carry on the war : now, 
whatever ground there is for this idea, it ought to have 
operated as a reason for not beginning it ; and, therefore, 
they support their present measures to their own disgrace, 
because the arguments which they now use, are a direct 
reflection on their former policy. 

"The favorable appearance of affairs," continues the 
peech, " in the East Indies, and the safe arrival of the 
numerous commercial fleets of my kingdom, must have given 
you satisfaction." 

That things are not quite so bad every where as in America 
may be some cause of consolation, but can be none for 
triumph. One broken leg is better than two, but still it is not a 
source of joy : and let the appearance of affairs in the East 
Indies be ever so favorable, they are nevertheless worse than 
at first, without a prospect of tneir ever being better. But 
the mournful story of Cornwallis was yet to be told, and it 
was necessary to give it the softest introduction possible. 

" But in Ihe course of this year," continues the speech, 
u my assiduous endeavors to guard the extensive dominiona 
of my crown have not been attended with success equal to 
the justice and uprightness of mv views." What justice and 



136 THE CRISIS. 

uprightness there was in beginning a war with America, the 
world will judge of, and the unequalled barbarity with which 
it has been conducted, is not to be worn from the memory 
by the cant of snivelling hypocrisy. 

" And it is with great concern that I inform you that the 
events of war have been very unfortunate to my arms in 
Virginia, having ended in the loss of my forces in that pro 
vince." And our great concern is that they are not all 
served in the same manner. 

" No endeavors have been wanting on my part," says the 
speech, " to extinguish that spirit of rebellion which oui 
enemies have found means to foment and maintain in the 
colonies ; and to restore to my deluded subjects in America 
that happy and prosperous condition which they formerly 
derived from a due obedience to the laws." 

The expression of deluded subjects is become so hacknied 
and contemptible, and the more so when we see them making 
prisoners of whole armies at a time, that the pride of not 
being laughed at would induce a man of common sense to 
leave it off. But the most offensive falsehood in the para- 
graph, is the attributing the prosperity of America to a 
wrong cause. It was the urn-emitted industry of the settlers 
and their descendants, the hard labor and toil of persever- 
ing fortitude, that were the true causes of the prosperity of 
America. The former tyranny of England served to people 
it, and the virtue of the adventurers to improve it. Ask the 
man, who, with his axe hath cleared a way in the wilder- 
ness, and now possesses an estate, what made him rich, and 
he will tell you the labor of his hands, the sweat of his 
brow, and the blessing of heaven. Let Britain but leave 
America to herself and she asks no more. She has risen 
into greatness without the knowledge and against the will 
of England, and has a right to the unmolested enjoyment 
of her own created wealth. 

" I will order," says the speech, " the estimates of the 
ensuing year to be laid before you. I rely on your wisdom and 
public spirit for such supplies as the circumstances of our 
affairs shall be found to require. Among the many ill con- 
sequences which attend the continuation of the present war, 
I most sincerely regret the additional burdens which it must 
unavoidably bring upon my faithful subjects." 

It is strange that a nation must run through such a, 
labyrinth of trouble, and expend such a mass of wealth to 
gain the wisdom which an hour's reflection might have 



THE CSISIB. 187 

taught. The final superiority of America over every 
attempt that an island might make to conquer her, was as 
naturally marked in the constitution of things, as the future 
ability of a giant over a dwarf is delineated in his features 
while an infant. How far providence, to accomplish purposes 
which no human wisdom could foresee, permitted such 
extraordinary errors, is still a secret in the womb of time, 
and must remain so till futurity shall give it birth. 

" In the prosecution of this great and important contest," 
says the speech, " in which we are engaged, I retain a firm 
confidence in the protection of divine providence and a per- 
fect conviction in the justice of my cause, and I have no 
doubt, but, that by the concurrence and support of my 
parliament, by the valour of my fleets and armies, and by a 
vigorous, animated, and united exertion of the faculties and 
resources of my people, I shall be enabled to restore the 
blessings of a safe and honorable peace to all my domin- 
ions." 

The king of England is one of the readiest believers in the 
world. In the beginning of the contest he passed an act to 
put America out of the protection of the crown of England, 
and though providence, for seven years together, hath put 
him out of her protection, still the man has no doubt. Like 
Pharaoh on the edge of the Ked sea, he sees not the plunge 
he is making, and precipitately drives across the flood that 
is closing over his head. 

I think it a reasonable supposition, that this part of the 
speech was composed before the arrival of the news of the 
capture of Cornwallis : for it certainly has no relation to 
their condition at the time it was spoken. But, be this as 
it may, it is nothing to us. Our line is fixed. Our lot is 
cast ; and America, the child of fate, is arriving at maturity. 
We have nothing to do but by a spirited and quick exer- 
tion, to stand prepared for war or peace. Too great to 
yield, and too noble to insult ; superior to misfortune, and 
generous in success, let us untaintedly preserve the cha- 
racter which we have gained, and show the future ages an 
example of unequalled magnanimity. There is something 
in the cause and consequence of America that has drawn on 
her the attention of all mankind. The world has seen her 
brave. Her love of liberty ; her ardour in supporting it ; 
the justice of her claims, and the constancy of her fortitude 
has won her the esteem of Europe, and attached to her in- 
terest the first power in that country. 



138 THE CRISIS. 

Her situation now is such, that to whatever point, pasty 
present or to come, sne casts her eyes, new matter rises to 
convince her that she is right. In her conduct towards her 
enemy, no reproachful sentiment lurks in secret. No sense 
of injustice is left upon the mind. Untainted with ambition, 
and a stranger to revenge, her progress hath been marked 
by providence, and she, in every stage of the conflict, has 
blest her with success. 

But let not America wrap herself up in delusive hope and 
suppose the business done. The least remiosness in prepa- 
ration, the least relaxation in execution, will only serve to 
prolong the war, and increase expenses. If our enemies 
can draw consolation from misfortune, and exert themselves 
upon despair, how much more ought we, who are to win a 
continent by the conquest, and have already an earnest of 
success ? 

Having in the preceding part, made my remarks on the 
several matters which the speech contains, I shall now make 
my remarks on what it does not contain. 

There is not a syllable in it respecting alliances. Either 
the injustice of Britain is too glaring, or her condition too 
desperate, or both, for any neighboring power to come to 
her support. In the beginning of the contest, when she had 
only America to contend witn, she hired assistance from 
Hesse, and other smaller states of Germany, and for nearly 
three years did America, young, raw, undisciplined and un- 
provided, stand against the power of Britain, aided by 
twenty thousand foreign troops, and made a complete con- 
quest of one entire army. The remembrance of those things 
ought to inspire us with confidence and greatness of mind, 
and carry us through every remaining difficulty with con- 
tent and cheerfulness. What are the little sufferings of the 
present day, compared with the hardships that are past ? 
There was a time, when we had neither house nor home in 
safety ; when every hour was the hour of alarm and danger ; 
when the mind, tortured with anxiety, knew no repose, 
and every thing but hope and fortitude, was bidding us 
farewell. 

I It is of use to look back upon these things ; to call to 

/ mind the times of trouble and the scenes 01 complicated 

* anguish that are past and gone. Then every expense was 

cheap, compared with the dread of conquest and the misery 

of submission. We did not stand debating upon trifles, or 

contending about the necessary and unavoidable charges or 



THE CRISIS. 189 

defence. Every one bore hie lot of suffering, and looked for- 
ward to happier days, and scenes of rest. 

Perhaps one of tne greatest dangers which any country 
can be exposed to, arises from a kind of trifling which some- 
times steals upon the mind, when it supposes the danger 
past ; and this unsafe situation marks at this time the 
peculiar crisis of America. What would she once have 
given to have known that her condition at this day should 
be what it now is ? And yet we do not seem to place a 
proper value upon it, nor vigorously pursue the necessary 
measures to secure it. We know that we cannot be defended, 
nor yet defend ourselves, without trouble and expense. We 
have no right to expect it ; neither ought we to look for it. 
We are apeople, wno, in our situation, differ from all the 
world. We form one common floor of public good, and, 
whatever is our charge, it is paid for our own interest and 
upon our own account. 

Misfortune and experience have now taught us system and 
method ; and the arrangements for carrying on the war are 
reduced to rule and order. The quotas of the several states 
are ascertained, and I intend in a future publication to show 
what they are, and the necessity as well as the advantages 
of vigorously providing them. 

In the mean time, I shall conclude this paper with an 
instance of British clemency, from Smollett's History of 
England, vol. xi. p. 239, printed in London. It will serve 
to show how dismal the situation of a conquered people is, 
and that the only security is an effectual defence. 

We all know that the Stuart family and the house of 
Hanover opposed each other for the crown of England. The 
Stuart family stood first in the line of succession, but the 
other was the most successful. 

In July, 1745, Charles, the son of the exiled king, landed 
in Scotland, collected a small force, at no time exceeding 
five or six thousand men, and made some attempts to re-es- 
tablish his claim. The late duke of Cumberland, uncle to 
the present king of England, was sent against him, and on 
the 16th of April following, Charles was totally defeated at 
Culloden, in Scotland. Success and power are the only 
situations in which clemency can be shown, and those who 
are cruel, because they are victorious, can with the same 
facility act any other degenerate character. 

11 Immediately after tne decisive action at Culloden, the 
duke <-f Cumberland took possession of Inverness; where 



140 THE CRISIS. 

six and thirty deserters, convicted b/ a court martial, were 
ordered to be executed : then he detached several parties to 
ravage the country. One of these apprehended the Lady 
Mackintosh, who was sent prisoner to Inverness, plundered 
her house, and drove away Tier cattle, though her husband 
was actually in the service of the government. The castle 
of Lord Lovat was destroyed. The French prisoners were 
sent to Carlisle and Penrith : Kiimarnoek, Balmerino, 
Cromartie, and his son, the lord Macleod, were conveyed by 
sea to London ; and those of an inferior rank were confined 
in different prisons. The marquis of Tullibardine, together 
with a brother of the earl of Dunmore and Murray, the 
pretender's secretary, were seized and transported to the 
tower of London, to which the earl of Traquaire had been 
committed on suspicion ; and the eldest son of lord Lovat 
was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh. In a word, all 
the jails in Great Britain, from the capital, northwards, were 
filled with those unfortunate captives , and great numbers 
of them were crowded together in the holds of ships, where 
they perished in the most deplorable manner, for want of 
air and exercise. Some rebel chiefs escaped in two French 
frigates that arrived on the coast of Lochaber about the end 
of April, and engaged three vessels belonging to his Britan- 
nic majesty, which they obliged to retire. Others embarked 
on board a ship on the coast of Buchan, and were conveyed 
to Norway, from whence they travelled to Sweden. In the 
month of May, the duke of Cumberland advanced with the 
army into the Highlands, as far as fort Augustus, where he 
encamped ; and sent off detachments on all hands, to hunt 
down the fugitives, acd Jay waste the country with fire and 
sword. The castles of Glengary and Lochiel were plun- 
dered and burned; every house, hut, or habitation, met 
with the same fate, without distinction ; and all the cattle 
and provision were carried off ; the men were either shot 
upon the mountains, like wild beasts, or put to death in cold 
blood, without form of trial ; the women, after having seen 
their husbands and fathers murdered, were subjected to 
brutal violation, and then turned out naked, with their 
children, to starve on the barren heaths. One whole family 
was- enclosed in a barn, and consumed to ashes. Those 
ministers of vengeance were so alert in the execution of 
their oflfice, that in a few days there was neither house, cot- 
tage, man, nor beast, to be seen within the compass of fifty 
mites ; all was ruin, silence, and desolation." 



THE CRISIS. 141 

I have here presented the reader with one of the most 
shocking instances of cruelty ever practised, and I leave it 
to rest on his mind, that he may be fully impressed with a 
sense of the destruction he has escaped, in case Britain had 
conquered America : and likewise, tnat he may see and feel 
the necessity, as well for his own personal safety, as for the 
honor, the interest, and happiness of the whole community, 
to omit or delay no one preparation necessary to secure tne 
ground which we so happily stand upon. 

TO THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA. 

On the expenses, arrangements and disbursements for carrying on the 
war, and finishing it with honor and advantage. 

WHEN any necessity or occasion has pointed out the con- 
venience of addressing the public, I have never made it a 
consideration whether the subject was popular or unpopular, 
but whether it was right or wrong ; for that which is right 
will become popular, and that which is wrong, though by 
mistake it may obtain the cry or fashion of the day, will 
soon lose the power of delusion, and sink into disesteem. 

A remarkable instance of this happened in the case of 
Silas Deane; and I mention this circumstance with the 
greater ease, because the poison of his hypocrisy spread over 
the whole country, and every man, almost without excep- 
tion, thought me wrong in opposing him. The best friends 
I then had, except Mr. Laurens, stood at a distance, and this 
tribute, which is due to his constancy, I pay to him with 
respect, and that the readier, because he is not here to hear 
it. If it reaches him in his imprisonment, it will afford him 
an agreeable reflection. 

" As he rose Uke a rocket, he would. fall like a stick" is a 
metaphor which I applied to Mr. Deane, in the first piece 
which I published respecting him, and he has exactly ful- 
filled the description. The credit he so unjustly obtained 
from the public, he lost in almost as short a time. The de- 
lusion perished as it fell, and he soon saw himself stripped 
of popular support. His more intimate acquaintances began 
to doubt, and to desert him long before he left America, and 
at his departure, he saw himself the object of general suspi- 
cion. When he arrived in France, he endeavored to effect 
bv treason what he had failed to accomplish by fraud. His 
plans, schemes and projects, together with his expectation 



142 THE CRISIS. 

of being sent to Holland to negotiate a loan of money, had 
all miscarried. He then began traducing and accusing 
America of every crime, which could injure her reputation. 
" That she was a ruined country ; that she only meant to 
make a tool of France, to get what money she could out of 
her, and then to leave her, and accommodate with Britain." 
Of all which and much more, Colonel Laurens and myself 
when in France, informed Dr. Franklin, who had not before 
heard of it. And to complete the character of a traitor, he 
has, by letters to this country since, some of which, in his 
own hand writing, are now in the possession of congress, 
used every expression and argument in his power, to injure 
the reputation of France, and to advise America to renounce 
her alliance, and surrender up her independence.* Thus in 
France he abuses America, and in his letters to America he 
abuses France ; and is endeavoring to create disunion be- 
tween the two countries, by the same arts of double-dealing 
by which he caused dissentions among the commissioners in 
Paris, and distractions in America. But his life has been 
fraud, and his character is that of a plodding, plotting^ 
cringing mercenary, capable of any disguise that suited his 
purpose. His final detection has very happily cleared up 
those mistakes, and removed that uneasiness, which his un- 
principled conduct occasioned. Every one now sees him in 
the same light ; for towards friends or enemies he acted with 
the same deception and injustice, and his name, like that of 
Arnold^ ought now to be forgotten among us. As this is 
the first time that I have mentioned him since my return 
from France, it is my intention that it shall be the last. 
From this digression, which for several reasons I thought 
necessary to give, I now proceed to the purport of my ad- 
dress. 

I consider the war of America against Britain as the 
country's war, the public's war, or the war of the people in 
their own behalf, for the security of their natural rights, 
and the protection of their own property. It is not the war 
of congress, the war of the assemblies, or the war of the 
government in any line whatever. The country first, by a 

* Mr. William Marshall, of this city, formerly a pilot, who had been taken ;U 
sea and carried to England, and got from thence to France, brought over let- 
ters from Mr. Deane to America, one of which was directed to " Robert Mor- 
ris, Esq." Mr. Morris sent it unopened to congress, and advised Mr. Marshall 
to deliver the others there, which he did. The letters were of the same pur- 
port with those which have been already published under the signature of i 
Deane, to which they had frequent reference. 



THE CRISIS. 145 

mutual compact, resolved to defend their rights and main- 
tain their independence, at the hazard of their lives and 
fortunes, they elected their representatives, by whom they 
appointed their members of congress, and saia, act you for 
us, and we will support you. Tnis is the true ground and 
principle of the war on the part of America, and, conse- 
quently, there remains nothing to do, but for every one to 
fulfil his obligation. 

It was next to impossible that a new country, engaged in 
a new undertaking, could set off systematically right at first. 
She saw not the extent of the struggle that she was involved 
in, neither could she avoid the beginning. She supposed 
every step that she took, and every resolution which she 
formed, would bring her enemy to reason and close the con- 
test. Those failing, she was forced into new measures ; and 
these, like the former, being fitted to her expectations, and 
failing in their turn, left her continually unprovided, and 
without system. The enemy, likewise, was induced to pro- 
secute the wai , from the temporary expedients we adopted 
for carrying it on. We were continually expecting to see 
their credit exhausted, and they were looking to see our 
currency fail ; and thus, between their watching us, and we 
them, the hopes of both have been deceived, and the child- 
ishness of the expectation has served to increase the expense. 

Yet, who through this wilderness of error, has been to 
blame ? Where is the man who can say the fault, in part, 
has not been his? They were the natural, unavoidable 
errors of the day. They were the errors of a whole coun- 
try, which nothing but experience could detect and time 
remove. Neither could the circumstances of America ad- 
mit of system, till either the paper currency was fixed or 
laid aside. No calculation of a finance could be made on 
medium failing without reason, and fluctuating without rule. 

But there is one error which might have been prevented 
and was not ; and as it is not my custom to flatter, but to 
serve mankind, I will speak it freely. It certainly was the 
duty of every assembly on the continent to have known, at 
all times, what was the condition of its treasury, and to have 
ascertained at every period of depreciation, how much the 
real worth of the taxes fell short of their nominal value. 
This knowledge, which might have been easily gained, in 
the time of it, would have enabled them to have kept their 
constituents well informed, and this is one of the greatest 
iuties of representation. They ought to have studied and 



144 THE OttlSIS. 

calculated the expenses of the war, the quota of each state, 
and the consequent proportion that would fall on each man's 
property for his defence ; and this must easily have shown 
to them, that a tax of one hundred pounds could not be paid 
by a bushel of apples or an hundred of flour, which was 
often the case two or three years ago. But instead of this, 
which would have been plain and upright dealing, the little 
line of temporary popularity, the feather of an hour's dura- 
tion, was too much pursued ; and in this involved condition 
of things, every state, for the want of a little thinking, or 
a little information, supposed that it supported the whole 
expenses of the war, when in fact it fell, by the time the 
tax was levied and collected, above three-fourths short of its 
own quota. 

Impressed with a sense of the danger to which the coun- 
try was exposed by this lax method of doing business, and 
the prevailing errors of the day, I published, last October 
was a twelvemonth, the Crisis No. JL, on the revenues of 
America, and the yearly expense of carrying on the war. 
My estimation of the latter, together with the civil list of 
congress and the civil list of the several states, was two mil- 
lion pounds sterling, which is very nearly nine millions of 
dollars. 

Since that time, congress have gone into a calculation, 
and have estimated the expenses of the war department and 
the civil list of congress (exclusive of the civil list of the 
several governments) at eight millions of dollars ; and as the 
remaining million will be fully sufficient for the civil list 
of the several states, the two calculations are exceedingly 
near each other. 

The sum of eight millions of dollars they have called upon 
the states to furnish, and their quotas are as follows, which 
I shall preface with the resolution itself. 



" By the United States in congress aMembled. 

October 80, 1781. 

" Resolved, That the respective states be called upon to 
furnish the treasury of the United States with their quotas 
of eight millions of dollars, for the war department and civil 
list for the ensuing year, to be paid quarterly, in equal pro- 
portions, the first payment to be made on the first day of 
April next. 

Jtesofaed, That a committee consisting of a member from 



THE CRISIS. 145 

each state, be appointed to apportion to the several statea 
the quota of the above sum. 

" November 2d. The committee appointed to ascertain 
the proportions of the several states of the monies to be 
raised for the expenses of the ensuing year, report the fol- 
lowing resolutions : 

" That the sum of eight millions of dollars, as required to 
be raised by the resolutions of the 30th of October la^* *>a 
paid by the states in the following proportion : 

New-Hampshire $378,698 

Massachusetts 1,807,596 

Rhode Island 216,684 

Connecticut 747,196 

New-York 878,598 

New-Jersey .... 485,679 

Pennsylvania 1,120,794 

Delaware , ... . 112,085 

Maryland 533,996 

Virginia 1,807,694 

North Carolina 622,677 

South Carolina 873,598 

Georgia 24,90ft 

$8,000,000 

" ftesolved) That it be recommended to the several states, 
to pay taxes for raising their quotas of money for the United 
States, separate from those laid for their own particular use." 

On these resolutions I shall offer several remarks. 

1st, On the sum itself, and the ability of the country. 

2d, On the several quotas, and the nature of a union. 
And, 

3d, On the manner of collection and expenditure. 

1st, On the sum itself, and the ability of the country. As 
I know my own calculation is as low as possible, and as the 
sum called for by congress, according to their calculation, 
agrees very nearly therewith, I am sensible it cannot possibly 
be lower. Neither can it be done for that, unless there is 
ready money to go to market with ; and even in that case, 
it is only by the utmost management and economy that it 
can be maae to do. 

By the accounts which were laid before the British parlia- 
ment last spring, it appeared that the charge of only subsist- 
ing, that is, feeding their army in America, cost annually 
four million pounds sterling, which is verv nearly eighteen 
millions of dollars. Now if| for eight millions, we can feed, 
t-lot'he, arm, provide for, and pay an army sufficient for our 



146 THE CKI8I8. 

defence, the very comparison shows that the n-oney must be 
well laid out. 

It may be of some use, either in debate or conversation, 
to attend to the progress of the expenses of an army, because 
it will enable us to see on what part any deficiency will fall. 

The first thing is, to feed them and provide for the sick. 

Second to clothe them. 

Third, to arm and furnish them. 

Fourth, to provide means for removing them from place 
to place. And, 

Fifth, to pay them. 

The first and second are absolutely necessary to them as 
men. The third and fourth are equally as necessary to them 
as an army. And the fifth is their just due. Now if the 
sum which shall be raised should fall short, either by the 
several acts of the states for raising it, or by the manner of 
collecting it, the deficiency will fall on the fifth head, the 
soldiers' pay, which would be defrauding them, and eternally 
disgracing ourselves. It would be a blot on the councils, 
the country, and the revolution of America, and a man 
would hereafter be ashamed to own that he had any hand 
in it. 

But if the deficiency should be still shorter, it would next 
fall on the fourth head, the, means of removing the a/rmy 
f rom place to place / and, in this case, the army must either 
stand still where it can be of no use, or seize on horses, carts, 
wagons, or any means of transportation which it can lay 
hold of ; and in this instance the country suffers. In short, 
every attempt to do a thing for less than it can be done for, 
is sure to become at last both a loss and a dishonor. 

But the country cannot bear it, say some. This has been 
the most expensive doctrine that ever was held out, and cost 
America millions of money for nothing. Can the country 
bear to be overrun, ravaged, and mined by an enemy? 
Ihis will immediately follow where defence is wanting, and 
defence will ever be wanting where sufficient revenues are 
not provided. But this is only one part of the folly. The 
second is, that when the danger comes, invited in part by 
Dur not preparing against it, we have been obliged, in a 
lumber of instances, to expend double the sums to do that 
which at first might have been done for half the money. 
But this is not all. A third mischief has been, that grain 
f ail sorts, flour, beef, fodder, horses, carts, wagons, or what- 
ever was absolutely or imisenia t<lv wanted, have been takeu 



THE CRISIS. 147 

without pay. Now, I ask, why was all this done, but from 
that extremely weak and expensive doctrine, that the country 
could not bear it f That is, that she could not bear, in the 
first instance, that which would have saved her twice as 
much at last ; or, in proverbial language, that she could not 
bear to pay a penny to save a pound ; the consequence of 
which has been, that she has paid a pound for a penny. 
Why are there so many unpaid certificates in almost every 
man's hands, but from the parsimony of not providing suf- 
ficient revenues? Besides, the doctrine contradicts itself; 
because, if the whole country cannot bear it, how is it 
possible that a part should ? And yet this has been the 
case : for those things have been had ; and they must be 
had ; but the misfortune is, that they have been obtained in 
a very unequal manner, and upon expensive credit, whereas, 
with ready money, they might have been purchased for half 
the price, and nobody distressed. 

But there is another thought which ought to strike us, 
which is, how is the army to bear the want of food, clothing 
and other necessaries ? The man who is at home, can turn 
himself a thousand ways, and find as many means of ease, 
convenience or relief: but a soldier's life admits of none 
of those : their wants cannot be supplied from themselves : 
for an army, though it is the defence of a state, is at the 
aame time the child of a country, or must be provided for in 
every thing. 

And lastly, The doctrine is false. There are not three 
millions of people in any part of the universe, who live so 
well, or have such a fund of ability as in America. The in- 
come of a common laborer, who is industrious, is equal to 
that of the generality of tradesmen in England. In the 
mercantile line, I have not heard of one who could be said 
to be a bankrupt since the war began, and in England they 
have been without number. In America almost every far- 
mer lives on his own lands, and in England not one in a 
hundred does. In short, it seems as if the poverty of that 
country had made them furious, and they were determined 
to risk all to recover all. 

Yet, notwithstanding those advantages on the part of 
America, true it is, that had it not been for the operation of 
taxes for our necessary defence, we had sunk into a state of 
sloth and poverty : for there was more wealth lost by neglect- 
ing to till the earth in the years 1176, '77, '78, than the 
quota of taxes (\inounts to. *That which is lost by neglect. 



148 THE CRISIS. 

of this kind, is lost for ever : whereas that which is paid, ana 
continues in the country, returns to us again ; and at the 
same time that it provides us with defence, it operates not 
only as a spur, but as a premium to our industry. 

I shall now proceed to the second head, viz. on the s&vwal 
quotas, and the natwe of a imion. 

There was a time when America had no other bond of 
union, than that of common interest and affection. The 
whole country flew to the relief of Boston, and, making her 
cause their own,participated in her cares and administered 
to her wants. The fate of war, since that day, has carried 
the calamity in a ten-fold proportion to the southward ; but 
in the mean time the union has been strengthened by a legal 
compact of the states, jointly and severally ratified, and that 
which before was choice, or the duty of affection, is now 
likewise the duty of legal obligation. 

The union of America is the foundation-stone of her inde- 
pendence ; the rock on which it is built ; and is something 
so sacred in her constitution, that we ought to watch every 
word we speak, and every thought we think, that we injure 
it not, even by mistake. When a multitude, extended, or 
rather scattered, over a continent in the manner we were, 
mutually agree to form one common centre whereon the 
whole shall move, to accomplish a particular purpose, all 
parts must act together and alike, or act not at all, and a 
stoppage in any one is a stoppage of the whole, at least for 
a time. 

Thus the several states have sent representatives to assem- 
ble together in congress, and they have empowered that 
body, which thus becomes their centre, and are no other 
than themselves in representation, to conduct and manage 
the war, while their constituents at home attend to the do- 
mestic cares of the country, their internal legislation, their 
farms, professions or employments : for it is only by reducing 
complicated things to method and orderly connexion that 
they can be understood with advantage, or pursued with 
success. Congress, by virtue of this delegation, estimates 
the expense, and apportions it out to the several parts of the 
empire according to their several abilities; and here trie 
debate must end, because each state has already had its 
voice, and the matter has undergone its whole portion of 
argument, and can no more be altered by any particular 
state, than a law of any state, after it has. passed, can be 
altered by any individual. For with respect to those thingg 



THE CRISIS. 149 

irhicli immediately concern the union, and for which the 
union was purposely established, and is intended to secure, 
each state is to the United States what each individual is tc 
the state he lives in. And it is on this grand point, this 
movement upon one centre, that our existence as a nation, 
our happiness as a people, and our safety as individuals, 
depend. 

It may happen that some state or other may be somewhat 
over or under rated, but this cannot be much. The ex- 
perience which has been had upon the matter, has nearly 
ascertained their several abilities. But even in this case, it 
can only admit of an appeal to the United States, but can- 
not authorise any state to make the alteration itself, any 
more than our internal government can admit an individual 
to do so in the case of an act of assembly ; for if one state 
can do it, than may another do the same, and the instant 
this is done the whole is undone. 

Neither is it supposable that any single state can be a 
judge of all the comparative reasons which may influence 
the collective body in arranging the quotas of the continent. 
The circumstances of the several states are frequently vary- 
ing, occasioned by the accidents of war and commerce, and 
it will often fall upon some to help others, rather beyond what 
their exact proportion at another time might be ; but even 
this assistance is as naturally and politically included in the 
idea of a union, as that of any particular assigned propor- 
tion ; because we know not whose turn it may be next to 
want assistance, for which reason that state is the wisest 
which sets the best example. 

Though in matters of bounden duty and reciprocal affec- 
tion, it is rather a degeneracy from the honesty and ardour 
of the heart to admit anything selfish to partake in the 
government of our conduct, yet in cases where our duty, 
our affections, and our interest all coincide, it may be of 
some use to observe their union. The United States will 
become heir to an extensive quantity of vacant land, and 
their several titles to shares and quotas thereof, will naturally 
be adjusted according to their relative quotas during the 
war, exclusive of that inability which may unfortunately 
arise to any state by the enemy's holding possession of a 
part ; but as this is a cold matter of interest, I pass it by, 
and proceed to my third head, viz. 



160 THE ClilSis. 



ON THE MANNER OF COLLECTION AND EXPENDITURE. 

IT hath been our error, as well as our misfortune, to 
blend the affairs of each state, especially in money matters,, 
with those of the United States ; whereas, it is our ease, 
convenience and interest, to keep them separate. The ex- 
penses of the United States for carrying on the war, and the 
expenses of each state for its own domestic government, are 
distinct things, and to involve them is a source of perplexity 
and a cloak for fraud. I love method, because I see and 
am convinced of its beauty and advantage. It is that which 
makes all business easy and understood, and without which, 
everything becomes embarrassed and difficult. 

There are certain powers which the people of each state 
have delegated to their legislative and executive bodies, and 
there are other powers which the people of every state have 
delegated to congress, among which is that of conducting 
the war, and, consequently, of managing the expenses at- 
cehding it ; for how else can that be managed, which con- 
cerns every state, but by a delegation from each ? When a 
state has furnished its quota, it has an undoubted right to 
know how it has been applied, and it is as much the duty 
of congress to inform the state of the one, as it is the duty 
of the state to provide the other. 

In the resolution of congress already recited, it is recom- 
mended to the several states to lay taxes for raising their 
quotas of money for the United States, separate from those 
laid for their own particular use. 

This is a most necessary point to be observed, and the 
distinction should follow all the way through. They should 
be levied, paid and collected, separately, and kept separate 
in every instance. Neither have the civil officers of any 
dtate, or the government of that state, the least right to 
touch that money which the people pay for the support of 
their army and the war, any more than congress has to 
touch that which each state raises for its own use. 

This distinction will naturally be followed by another. It 
will occasion every state to examine nicely into the expenses 
01 its civil list, and to regulate, reduce, and bring it into 
better order than it has hitherto been ; because the money 
for that purpose must be raised apart, and accounted for to 
the public separately. But while the monies of both were 
blended, the necessary nicety was not observed, and th 



g THE CRISIS. 151 

poor soldier, who ought to have been the first, was the last 
who was thought of. 

Another convenience will be, that the people, by paying 
the taxes separately, will know what they are for ; and will 
likewise know that those which are for the defence of the 
country will cease with the war, or soon after. For although, 
as I have before observed, the war is their own, and for the 
si:pport of their own rights and the protection of their own 
property, yet they have the same right to know, that they 
have to pay, and it is the want of not knowing that is often 
the cause of dissatisfaction. 

This regulation of keeping the taxes separate has given 
rise to a regulation in the office of finance, by which it was 
directed. 

"That the receivers shall, at the end of every month, 
make out an exact account of the monies received by them 
respectively, during such month, specifying therein the 
names of the persons from whom the same shall have been 
received, the dates and the sums ; which account they sliall 
respectively cause to be published in one of the newspapers 
of the state ; to the end that every citizen may know how 
much of the monies collected from him, in taxes, is trans- 
mitted to the treasury of the United States for the suppor* 
of the war ; and also, that it may be known what monies 
have been at the order of the superintendent of finance. It 
being proper and necessary, that, in a free country, the 
people should be as fully informed of the administration of 
their affairs as the nature of things will admit." 

It is an agreeable thing to see a spirit of order and 
economy taking place, after such a series of errors and diffi- 
culties. A government or an administration, who means 
and acts honestly, has nothing to fear, and consequently has 
nothing to conceal ; and it would be of use if a monthly or 
quarterly account was to be published, as well of the expen- 
ditures as of the receipts. Eight millions of dollars must 
be husbanded with an exceeding deal of care to make it do, 
and, therefore, as the management must be reputable, the 
publication would be serviceable. 

I have heard of petitions which have been presented to the 
assembly of this state (and probably the same may have 
happened in other states) praying to have the taxes lowered. 
Now the only way to keep taxes low is, for the United States 
to have ready money to go to market with : and though tho 
taxes to be raised for the present year will fall heavy, and 



152 THE OKI SIS. 

there will naturally be some difficulty in paying them, yet 
the difficulty, in proportion as money spreads about the 
country, will every day grow less, and in the end we shall 
gave some millions of dollars by it. We see what a bitter, 
revengeful enemy we have to deal with, and any expense is 
cheap compared to their merciless paw. We have seen the 
unfortunate Carolineans hunted like partridges on the moun- 
tains, and it is only by providing means for our defence, that 
we shall be kept from the same condition. When we think 
or talk about taxes, we ought to recollect that we lie down 
in peace and sleep in safety ; that we can follow our farms 
or stores or other occupations, in prosperous tranquillity; 
and that these inestimable blessings are procured to us by 
the taxes that we pay. In this view, our taxes are pro- 
perly our insurance money; they are what we pay to be 
made safe, and, in strict policy, are the best money we can 
lay out. 

It was my intention to offer some remarks on th,e impost 
law of five per cent, recommended by congress, and to be 
established as a fund for the payment of the loan-office cer- 
tificates, and other debts of the United States ; but I have 
already extended my piece beyond my intention. And as 
this fund will make our system of finance complete, and is 
strictly just, and consequently requires nothing but honesty 
to do it, there needs but little to be said upon it. 

COMMON SENSE, 

Philadelphia, March 5, 1782. 



NUMBER XH. 
ON THE PRESENT STATE OF NEWS. 

SINCE the arrival of two, if not three packets, in quick 
succession, at New- York, from England, a variety of uncon- 
nected news has circulated through the country, and afforded 
as great a variety of speculation. 

That something is the matter in the cabinet and councils 
of our enemies, on the other side of the water, is certain 
that they have run their length of madness, and are under 
the necessity of changing their measures may easily be seen 



THE OEI8I8. 153 

into; but to what this change of measures may amount, or 
how far it may correspond with our interest, happiness and 
duty, is yet uncertain ; and from what we have Thitherto ex- 
perienced, we have too much reason to suspect them in every 
thing. 

I do not address this publication so much to the people of 
America as to the British ministry, whoever they may be, 
for if it is their intention to promote any kind of negotia- 
tion, it is proper they should know beforehand, that the 
United States nave as much honor as bravery ; and that they 
are no more to be seduced from their alliance ; that their 
line of politics is formed and not dependant, like that of their 
enemy, on chance and accident. 

On our part, in order to know, at any time, what the 
British government will do, we have only to find out what 
they ought not to do, and this last will be their conduct 
Forever changing and forever wrong ; too distant from Amer 
ica to improve in circumstances, and too unwise to foresee 
them ; scheming without principle, and executing without 
probability, their whole line of management has hitherto 
been blunder and baseness. Every campaign has added 
to their loss, and every year to their disgrace : till unable to 
go on, and ashamed to go back, their politics have come to 
a halt, and all their fine prospects to a halter. 

Could our affections forgive, or humanity forget the 
wounds of an injured country we might, under the influ- 
ence of a momentary oblivion, stand still and laugh. But 
they are engraven where no amusement can conceal them, 
and of a kind for which there is no recompense. Can ye 
restore to us the beloved dead ? Can ye say to the grave, 
give up the murdered ? Can ye obliterate from our memo- 
ries those who are no more? Think not then to tamper 
with our feelings by insidious contrivance, nor suffocate oui 
humanity by seducing us to dishonor. 

In March 1780, I published part of the Crisis, No. VIII. 
in the newspapers, but did not conclude it in the following 
papers, and the remainder has lain by me till the present 
day. 

There appeared about that time some disposition in the 
British cabinet to cease the further prosecution of the war, 
and as I had formed my opinion that whenever such a de- 
sign should take place, it would be accompanied with a dis- 
honorable proposition to America, respecting France, I had 
suppressed the remainder of that number, not to expose the 



154 THE OEI8I8. 

baseness of any such proposition. But the arrival oi the 
next news from England, declared her determination to go 
on with the war, and consequently as the political object 1 
had then in view was not become a subject, it was unneces- 
sary in me to bring it forward, which is the reason it was 
never published. 

The matter which I allude to in the unpublished part, I 
shall now make a quotation of, and apply it as the more en- 
larged state of things, at this day, shall make convenient or 
necessary. 

It was as follows : 

" By the speeches which have appeared from the British 
parliament, it is easy to perceive to what impolitic and im- 
prudent excesses their passions and prejudices have, in every 
instance, carried them during the present war. Provoked 
at the upright and honorable treaty between America and 
France, they imagined that nothing more was necessary to 
be done to prevent its final ratification, than to promise, 
through the agency of their commissioners (Carlisle, Eden 
and Johnston) a repeal of their once offensive acts of parlia- 
ment. The vanity of the conceit, was as unpardonable as 
the experiment was impolitic. And so convinced am I of 
their wrong ideas of America, that I shall not wonder, if in 
their last stage of political phrenzy, they propose to her to 
break her alliance with France, and enter into one with 
them. Such a proposition, should it ever be made, and it 
has been already more than once hinted at in parliament, 
would discover such a disposition to perfidiousness, and such 
disregard of honor and morals, as would add the finishing 
vice to national corruption. I do not mention this to put 
America on the watch, but to put England on her guard, 
that she do not, in the looseness of her heart, envelope in 
disgrace every fragment of her reputation." Thus far the 
quotation. 

By the complexion of some part of the news which has 
transpired through the New- York papers, it seems probable 
that this insidious era in the British politics is beginning to 
make its appearance. I wish it may not ; for that which is 
a disgrace to human nature, throws something of a shade 
over all the human character, and each individual feels his 
share of the wound that is given to the whole. 

The policy of Britain has ever been to divide America in 
some way or other. In the beginning of the dispute, she 
practised every art to prevent or destroy the union of the 



THE CRISIS. 155 

states, weLI knowing that could she once get them to stand 
singly, she could conquer them unconditionally. Failing in 
this project in America, she renewed it in Europe; and, 
after the alliance had taken place, she made secret offers to 
France to induce her to give up America ; and what is still 
more extraordinary, she at the same time made propositions 
to Dr. Franklin, then iu Paris, the very court to which she 
was secretly applying, to draw off America from France. 
But this is not all. 

On the 14th of September, 1778, the British court, through 
their secretary, lord "Weymouth, made application to the 
marquis d'Almodovar, the Spanish ambassador at London, 
to " ask the mediation" for these were the words, of the court 
of Spain, for the purpose of negociating a peace with France, 
leaving America (as I shall hereafter show) out of the ques- 
tion. Spain readily offered her mediation, and likewise the 
city of Madrid as the place of conferr-nce, but withal, pro- 
posed, that the United States of America should be invited 
to the treaty, and considered as independent during the time 
the business was negotiating. But this was not the view of 
England. She wanted to draw France from the war, that 
she might uninterruptedly pour out all her force and fury 
upon America ; and being disappointed in this plan, as well 
through the open and generous conduct of Spain, as the 
determination of France, she refused the mediation which 
she had solicited. 

I shall now give some extracts from the justifying memo- 
rial of the Spanish court, in which she has set the conduct 
and character of Britain, with respect to America, in a clear 
and striking point of light. 

The memorial, speaking of the refusal of the British court 
to meet in conference, with commissioners from the United 
States, who were to be considered as independent during the 
time of the conference, says, 

" It is a thing very extraordinary and even ridiculous, thai 
the court of London, who treats the colonies as independent, 
not only in acting, but of right, during the war, should have 
a repugnance to treat them as such only in acting during a 
truce, or suspension of hostilities. The convention of Sara 
toga ; the reputing general Burgoyne as a lawful prisoner, 
in order to suspend his trial ; the exchange and liberation 
of other prisoners made from the colonies ; the having 
named commissioners to go and supplicate the Americans, 
at their own doors, request peace of them, ?i;;d treat with 



156 THE CRISIS. 

them and the congress : and, finally, by a thousand other 
acts of this sort, authorized by the court of London, which 
have been, and are true signs of the acknowledgment of 
their independence. 

" In aggravation of all the foregoing, at the same time 
the British cabinet answered the king of Spain in the terms 
already mentioned, they were insinuating themselves at the 
court of France by means of secret emissaries, and making 
very great offers to her, to abandon the colonies and make 
peace with England. But there is yet more ; for at this 
same time the English ministry were treating, by means of 
another certain emissary, with Dr. Franklin, minister pleni- 
potentiary from the colonies, residing at Paris, to whom they 
made various proposals to disunite them from France, and 
accommodate matters with England. 

" From what has been observed, it evidently follows, that 
the whole of the British politics was, to disunite the two 
courts of Paris and Madrid, by means of the suggestions and 
offers which she separately made to them ; and also to sepa- 
rate the colonies from their treaties and engagements entered 
into with France, and induce them to arm against the house 
of Bourbon, or more probably to oppress them when they 
foitnd^from breaking their engagements, that they stood alone 
and without protection. 

" This, therefore, is the net they laid for the American 
states ; that is to say, to tempt them with flattering and 
very magnificent promises to come to an accommodation 
with them, exclusive of any intervention of Spain or France, 
that the British ministry might always remain the arbiters 
of the fate of the colonies. 

" But the Catholic king (the king of Spain) faithful on the 
one part of the engagements whicn bind him to the Most 
Christian king (the king of France') his nephew ; just and 
upright on the other, to ms own subjects, whom he ought to 
protect and guard against so many insults ; and finally, full 
of humanity and compassion for the Americans and other 
individuals who suffer in the present war ; he is determined 
to pursue and prosecute it, and to make all the efforts in his 
power, until he can obtain a solid and permanent peace, 
with full and satisfactory securities that it shall be observed." 

Thus far the memorial ; a translation of which into Eng- 
lish, may be seen in full, under the head of State Papers, in 
the Annual Kegister, for 17T9, p. 367. 

The extracts I have here given, serve to show the various 



THE CRISIS. 157 

endeavors and contrivances of the enemy, to draw France 
from her connection with America, and to prevail on her to 
make a separate peace with England, leaving America 
totally out of the question, and at the mercy of a merciless, 
unprincipled enemy. The opinion, likewise, which Spain 
has formed of the British cabinet character, for meanness 
and perfidiousness, is so exactly the opinion of America, 
respecting it, that the memorial, in this instance, contains 
our own statements and language ; for people, however 
remote, who think alike, will unavoidably speak alike. 

Thus we see the insidious use which Britain endeavoured 
to make of the propositions of peace under the mediation of 
Spain. I shall now proceed to the second proposition under 
the mediation of the emperor of Germany and the empress 
of Russia ; the general outline of which was, that a congress 
of the several powers at war, should meet at Yienna, in 1781, 
to settle preliminaries of peace. 

I could wish myself at liberty to make use of all the infor- 
mation which I am possessed of on this subject, but as there 
is a delicacy in the matter, I do not conceive it prudent, at 
least at present, to make references and quotations in the 
same manner as I have done with respect to the mediation 
of Spain, who published the whole proceedings herself ; and 
therefore, what comes from me, on this part of the business, 
must rest on my own credit with the public, assuring them, 
that when the whole proceedings, relative to the proposed 
congress of Yienna, shall appear, they will find my account 
not only true, but studiously moderate. 

"We know at the time this mediation was on the carpet, 
the expectation of the British king and ministry ran Ingh 
with respect to the conquest of America. The English 
packet which was taken with the mail on board, and carried 
into 1'Orient, in France, contained letters from lord G. Ger- 
maine to Sir Henry Clinton, which expressed in the fullest 
terms the ministerial idea of a total conquest. Copies of 
those letters were sent to congress and published in the news- 
papers of last year. Colonel Laurens brought over the 
originals, some of which, signed in the hand writing of the 
then secretary, Germaine, are now in my possession. 

Filled with these high ideas, nothing could be more inso- 
lent towards America than the language of the British court 
on the proposed mediation. A peace with France and 
Spain she anxiously solicited ; but America, as before, was 
to be left to her mercy, neither would she hear any proposi- 



THE CRISIS. 

tion for admitting an agent from the United States into the 
congress of Vienna. 

On the other hand, France, with an open, noble, and 
manly determination, and the fidelity of a good ally, would 
hear no proposition for a separate peace, nor even meet in 
congress at Vienna, without an agent from America : and 
likewise that the independent character of the United States, 
represented by the agent, should be fully and unequivocally 
defined and settled before any conference should be entered 
on. The reasoning of the court of France on the several 
propositions of the two imperial courts, which relate to us, 
is rather in the style of an American than an ally, and she 
advocated the cause of America as if she had been America 
herself. Thus the second mediation, like the first, proved 
ineffectual. 

But since that time, a reverse of fortune has overtaken the 
British arms, and all their high expectations are dashed to 
the ground. The noble exertions to the southward under 
general Greene ; the successful operations of the allied arms 
in the Chesapeake ; the loss of most of their islands in the 
West Indies, and Minorca in the Mediterranean ; the perse ' 
vering spirit of Spain against Gibraltar ; the expected cap- 
ture of Jamaica ; the failure of making a separate peace 
with Holland, and the expense of an hundred millions ster- 
ling, by which all these fine losses were obtained, have read 
them a loud lesson of disgraceful misfortune, and necessity 
has called on them to change their ground. 

In this situation of confusion and despair their present 
councils have no fixed character. It is now the hurricane 
months of British politics. Every day seems to have a storm 
of its own, and they are scudding under the bare poles of 
hope. Beaten, but not humble ; condemned, but not peni- 
tent ; they act like men trembling at fate and catching at a 
straw. From this convulsion, in the entrails of their poli- 
tics, it is more than probable, that the mountain groaning 
in labor, will bring forth a mouse, as to its size, and a mon- 
ster in its make. They will try on America the same in- 
sidious arts they tried on France and Spain. 

We sometimes experience sensations to which language is 
not equal. The conception is too bulky to be born alive, 
and in the torture of thinking, we stand dumb. Our feel- 
ings, imprisoned by their magnitude, find no way out and. 
in the struggle 01 expression, every finger tries to be a 
tongue.. The machinery of the body seems too little for 



THE CRISIS. 159 

the inind, and we look about for helps to show our thought* 
by. Such must be the sensation of America, whenever 
Britain, teeming with corruption, shall propose to her to 
sacrifice her faith. 

But, exclusive of the wickedness, there is a personal 
offence contained in eveiy such attempt. It is calling us 
villains : for no man asks another to act the villain unless 
he believes him inclined to be one. No man attempts to 
seduce a truly honest woman. It is the supposed looseness 
of her mind that starts the thoughts of seduction, and he 
who offers it calls her a prostitute. Our pride is always 
hurt by the same propositions which offend our principles ; 
for when we are shocked at. the crime we are wounded by 
the suspicion of our compliance. 

Could I convey a thought that might serve to regulate the 
public mind, I would not make the interest of the alliance 
the basis of defending it. All the world are moved by in- 
terest, and it affords them nothing to boast of. But I would 
.go a step higher, and defend it on the ground of honour and 
'principle. That our public affairs have flourished under the 
alliance that it was wisely made, and has been nobly ex- 
ecuted that by its assistance we are enabled to preserve 
our country from conquest, and expel those who sought our 
destruction that it is our true interest to maintain it un- 
impaired, and that while we do so no enemy can conquer 
us, are matters which experience has taught us, and the 
common good of ourselves, abstracted from principles of 
faith and honor, would lead us to maintain the connex- 
ion. 

But over and above the mere letter of the alliance, we 
have been nobly and generously treated, and have had the 
same respect and attention paid to us, as if we had been an 
old established country. To oblige and be obliged is fair 
work among mankind, and we want an opportunity of 
showing to the world that we are a people sensible of kind- 
ness and worthy of confidence. Character is to us, in our 
present circumstances, of more importance than interest. 
We are a young nation, just stepping upon the stage of 
public lite, and the eye of the world is upon us to see how 
we act. We have an enemy who is watching to destroy 
our reputation, and who will go any length to gain some 
evidence against us, that may serve to render our conduct 
suspected, and our character odious; because, could she 
accomplish this, wicked as it is, the world would withdraw 



160 THE CEI8I8. 

from us, as from a people not to be trusted, and our task 
would then become difficult. 

There is nothing which sets the character of a nation in a 
higher or lower light with others, than the faithfully ful- 
filling, or perfidiously breaking of treaties. They are things 
not to be tampered with : and should Britain, which seems 
very probable, propose to seduce America into such an act 
of baseness, it would merit from her some mark of unusual 
detestation. It is one of those extraordinary instances in 
which we ought not to be contented with the bare negative 
of congress, because it is an affront on the multitude as well 
as on the government. It goes on the supposition that the 
public are not honest men, and that they may be managed 
by contrivance, though they cannot be conquered by arms. 
But, let the world and Britain know, that we are neither 
to be bought nor sold. That our mind is great and fixed ; 
our prospect clear ; and that we will support our character 
as firmly as our independence. 

But I will go still further ; general Conway, who made 
the motion, in the British parliament, for discontinuing ' 
offensive war in America, is a gentleman of an amiable 
character. We have no personal quarrel with him. But 
he feels not as we feel ; he is not in our situation, and that 
alone, without any other explanation, is enough. 

The British parliament suppose they have many friends in 
America, and that, when all chance of conquest is over, they 
will be able to draw her from her alliance with France. 
Now, if I have any conception of the human heart, they will 
fail in this more than in any thing that they have yet tried. 

This part of the business is not a question of policy only, 
but of honor and honesty ; and the proposition will have in 
it something so visibly low and base, that their partisans, 
if they have any, will be ashamed of it. Men are often 
hurt by a mean action who are not startled at a wicked one, 
and this will be such a confession of inability, such a decla- 
ration of servile thinking, that the scandal of it will ruin all 
their hopes. 

In short, we have nothing to do but to go on with vigor 
and determination. The enemy is yet in our country. They 
hold New- York, Charleston and Savannah, and the very 
being in those places is an offence, and a part of offensive 
war, and until they can be driven from them, or captured in 
them, it would be folly in us to listen to an idle tale. J 
take it for granted that the British ministry are sinking 



THE CRISIS. 161 

under the impossibility of carrying on the war. Let them 
then come to a fair and open peace with France, Spain, 
Holland and America, in the manner that she ought to do ; 
but until then, we can have nothing to say to them. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, May 22, 1782. 



NUMBER YTTT. 
TO SIR GUY OARLETOK 

IT is the nature of compassion to associate with mislor- 
tune ; and I address this to you in behalf even of an enemy, 
a captain in the British service, now on his way to the head- 
quarters of the American army, and unfortunately doomed 
to death for a crime not his own. A sentence so extraordi- 
nary, an execution so repugnant to every human sensation', 
ought never to be told without the circumstances which 
produced it : and as the destined victim is yet in existence, 
and in your hands rest his life or death, I shall briefly state 
the case, and the melancholy consequence. 

Captain Huddy, of the Jersey militia, was attacked in a 
small fort on Tom's River, by a party of refugees in the 
British pay and service, was made prisoner, together with 
his company, carried to New- York and lodged in the pro- 
vost of that city : about three weeks after which, he was 
taken out of the provost down to the water-side, put into a 
boat, and brought again upon the Jersey shore, and there, 
contrary to the practice of all nations but savages, was hung 
up on a tree, and left hanging till found by our people, who 
took him down and buried him. 

The inhabitants of that part of the country where the 
murder was committed, sent a deputation to general Wash- 
ington with a full and certified statement of the fact. Struck, 
as every human breast must be, with such brutish outrage, 
and determined both to punish and prevent it for the future, 
the general represented the case to general Clinton, who 
then commanded, and demanded that the refugee officer 
who ordered and attended the execution, and whose name is 
Lippincut, should be delivered up as a murderer ; and in 
case of refusal, that the person of some British officer should 



162 THE CRISIS. 

Buffer in his stead. The demand, though noc refused, 
not been complied with ; and the melancholy lot (not by se- 
lection, but by casting lots) has fallen upon captain Asgill, 
of the guards, who, as I have already mentioned, is on his 
way from Lancaster to camp, a martyr to the general wick- 
edness of the cause he engaged in, and the ingratitude of 
those whom he served. 

The first reflection which arises on this black business is, 
what sort of men must Englishmen be, and what sort of 
order and discipline do they preserve in their army, when 
in the immediate place of their head-quarters, and under 
the eye and nose of their commander-in-chief, a prisoner 
can be taken at pleasure from his confinement, and his death 
made a matter of sport. 

The history of the most savage Indians does not produce 
instances exactly of this kind. They, at least, have a for- 
mality in their punishments. With them it is the horrid- 
ness of revenge, but with your army it is a still greater 
crime, the horridness of diversion. 

The British gen'erals, who have succeeded each other, from 
the time of general Gage to yourself, have all affected to 
speak in language that they have no right to. In their pro- 
clamations, their addresses, their letters to general Washing- 
ton, and their supplications to congress (for they deserve no 
other name) they talk of British honor, British generosity, and 
British clemency, as if those things were matters of fact ; 
whereas, we whose eyes are open, who speak the same lan- 
guage with yourselves, many of whom were bom on the 
same spot with you, and who can no more be mistaken in 
your words than in your actions, can declare to all the 
world, that so far as our knowledge goes, there is not a more 
detestable character, nor a meaner or more barbarous enemy, 
than the present British one. With us, you have forfeited 
all pretensions to reputation, and it is only holding you like 
a wild beast, afraid of your keepers, that you can be made 
manageable. But to return to the point in question. 

Though I can think no man innocent who has lent his 
hand to destroy the country which he did not plant, and to 
ruin those that he could not enslave, yet, abstracted from all 
ideas of right and wrong on the original question, captain 
Asgill, in the present case, is not the guilty man. The 
villain and the victim are here separated characters. You 
hold the one and we the other. You disown, or affect to 
diaown and reprobate the conduct of Lippincut, yet you give 



THE CRISIS. 163 

him a sanctuary ; and by so doing you as effectually become 
the executioner of AsgiU, as if you had put the rope on his 
neck, and dismissed him from the world. Whatever your 
feelings on this interesting occasion may be are best known to 
yourself. Within the grave of our own mind lies buried the 
fate of Asgill. He becomes the corpse of your will, or the 
survivor of your justice. Deliver up the one, and you save 
the other ; withhold the one, and the other dies by your 
choice. 

On our part the case is exceeding plain ; cm officer has 
been taken from his confinement and murdered^ and the mur- 
derer is within your lines. Your army has been guilty of a 
thousand instances of equal cruelty, but they nave been 
rendered equivocal, and sneltered from personal detection. 
Here the crime is fixed ; and is one of those extraordinary 
cases which can be neither denied nor palliated, and to which 
the custom of war does not apply ; for it never could be 
supposed that such a brutal outrage would ever be com- 
mitted. It is an original in the history of civilized barba- 
rians, and is truly British. 

On your part you are accountable to us for the personal 
safety of the prisoners within your walls. Here can be no 
mistake ; they can neither be spies nor suspected as such ; 
vour security is not endangered, nor your operations sub- 
jected to miscarriage, by men immured within a dungeon. 
They differ in every circumstance from men in the field, and 
leave no pretence tor severity of punishment. But if to the 
dismal condition of captivity with you, must be added the 
constant apprehensions of death ; if to be imprisoned is sr 
nearly to be entombed ; and, if after all, the murderers ara 
to be protected, and thereby the crime encouraged, wherein 
do you differ from Indians, either in conduct or character \ 

We can have no idea of your honor, or your justice, in 
any future transaction, of what nature it may be, while you 
shelter within your lines an outrageous murderer, and sacri- 
fice in his stead an officer of your own. If you have no 
regard to us, at least spare the blood which it is youi duty 
to save. Whether the punishment will be greater on him, 
who, in this case, innocently dies, or on niib whom aii 
necessity fcrces to retaliate, is, in the nicety of sensation, an 
undecided question. It rests 'with you to prevent the suf- 
ferings of both. You have nothing to do but to give up the 
murderer, and the matter ends. 

Ba'. to protect him, be he who he may, is to patronise hiB 



164 THE CRISIS. 

crime, and to trifle it off by frivolous and unmeaning in 
quiries, is to promote it. There is no declaration you can 
make nor promise you can give that will obtain credit. It 
is the man and not the apology that is demanded. 

You see yourself pressed on all sides to spare the life of 
your own officer, for die he will if you withhold justice. The 
murder of captain Huddy is an offence not to be borne with, 
and there is no security with which we can have, that such 
actions or similar ones shall not be repeated, but by making 
the punishment fall upon yourselves. To destroy the last 
security of captivity, and to take the unarmed, the unresist- 
ing prisoner to private and sportive execution, is carrying 
barbarity too high for silence. The evil must be put an 
end to ; and the choice of persons rests with you. But if 
your Attachment to the guilty is stronger than to the inno- 
cent, you invent a crime that must destroy your character, 
and if the cause of your king needs to be so supported, for 
ever cease, sir, to torture our remembrance with the 
wretched phrases of British honor, British generosity, and 
British clemency. 

From this melancholy circumstance, learn, sir, a lesson of 
morality. The refugees are men whom your predecessors 
have instructed in wickedness, the better to fit them to their 
master's purpose. To make them useful, they have made 
them vile, and the consequence of their tutored villainy is 
now descending on the heads of their encouragers. They 
have been trained like hounds to the scent of blood, and 
cherished in every species of dissolute barbarity. Their 
ideas of right and wrong are worn away in the constant 
habitude, of repeated infamy, till, like men practised in 
execution, they feel not the value of another's life. 

The task before you, though painful, is not difficult ; give 
up the murderer, and save your officer, as the first outset of 
necessary reformation. 

COMMON 

Philadelphia, May 31, 1782. 



THE CRISIS. 165 

NUMBER XIV. 
TO THE EARL OF SHELBTJRNE. 

Mr LORD, A speech, which has been printed in seveial 
of the British and New- York newspapers, as coming from 
your lordship, in answer to one from the duke of Kichmond, 
of the 10th of July last, contains expressions and opinions 
so new and singular, and so enveloped in mysterious reason- 
ing, that I address this publication to you, for the purpose 
of giving them a free and candid examination. The speech 
that I allude to is in these words : 

"His lordship said, it had been mentioned in another 
place, that he had been guilty of inconsistency. To clear 
himself of this, he asserted that he still held the same 
principles in respect to American independence which 
he at first imbibed. He had been, and yet was of opinion, 
whenever the parliament of Great Britain acknowledges that 
point, the sun of England's glory is set ibrever. Such were 
the sentiments he possessed on a former day, and such the 
sentiments he continued to hold at this hour. It was the 
opinion of lord Chatham, as well as many other able states- 
men. Other noble lords, however, think differently ; and as 
the majority of the cabinet support them, he acquiesced in 
the measure, dissenting from the idea ; and the point is set- 
tled for bringing the matter into the full discussion of par- 
liament, where it will be candidly, fairly, and impartially 
debated. The independence of Ajnerica would end in the 
ruin of England ; and that a peace patched up with France, 
would give that proud enemy the means of vet trampling on 
this country. The sun of England's glory he wished not to 
see set forever; he looked for a spark at least to be left, 
which might in time light us up to a new day. But if inde- 
pendence was to be granted, if parliament deemed that 
measure prudent, he foresaw, in his own mind, that England 
was undone. He wished to God that he had been deputed 
to congress, that he might plead the cause of that country 
as wefl us of this, and that he might exercise whatever 
powers h^ possessed as an orator, to save both from ruin, in 
a conviction to congress, that, if their independence was 
igned, their liberties were gone forever. 



166 THE CRISIS. 

" Peace, his lordship added, was a desirable object, but it 
must be an honorable peace, and not an humiliating one, 
dictated by France, or insisted on by America. It was very 
true, that this kingdom was net in a flourishing state, it was 
impoverished by war. But if we were not rich, it was evi- 
dent that France was poor. If we were straitened in our 
finances, the enemy were exhausted in tjieir resources. This 
was a great empire ; it abounded with brave men, who were 
able and willing to fight in a common cause ; the language 
of humiliation should not, therefore, be the language of 
Great Britain. His lordship said, that he was not afraid nor 
ashamed of those expressions going to America. There 
were numbers, great numbers there, who were of the same 
way of thinking, in respect to that country being dependant 
on this, and who, with his lordship, perceived rum and inde- 
pendence linked together." 

Thus far the speech ; on which I remark That his lord- 
ship is a total stranger to the mind and sentiments of Ame- 
rica ; that he has wrapped himself up in fond delusion, that 
something less than independence may, under his adminis- 
tration, be accepted ; and he wishes himself sent to congress, 
to prove the most extraordinary of all doctrines, which is, 
that independence, the sublimest of all human conditions, is 
loss of liberty. 

In answer to which we may say, that in order to know 
what the contrary word dependance means, we have only to 
look back to those years of severe humiliation, when the 
mildest of all petitions could obtain no other notice than the 
haughtiest of all insults ; and when the base terms of uncon- 
ditional submission were demanded, or undistmguishable de- 
struction threatened. It is nothing to us that the ministry 
have been changed, for they may be changed again. Th^ 
guilt of a government is the crime of a whole country ; ana 
the nation that can, though but for a moment, think and act 
as England has done, can never afterwards be believed or 
trusted. There are cases in which it is as impossible to re- 
store character to life, as it is to recover the dead. It is a 
phenix that can expire but once, and from whose ashes there 
is no resurrection. Some offences are of such a slight com- 
position, that they reach no further than the temper, and are 
created or cured by a thought. But the sin of England has 
struck the heart of America, and nature has not left in our 
power to say we can forgive. 

Your lordship wishes for an opportunity to plead before 



THE CRISIS. 167 

congress the cause of England and America, and to save, as 
you say, both from ruin. 

That the country, which, for more than seven years has 
sought our destruction, should now cringe to solicit our pro- 
tection, is adding the wretchedness of disgrace to the misery 
of disappointment ; and if England has the least spark of 
supposed honor left, Jhat spark must be darkened by asking, 
and extinguished by receiving, the smallest favor from 
America ; for the criminal who owes his life to the ^race and 
mercy of the injured, is more executed by the living, than 
he who dies. 

But a thousandpleadings, even from your lordship, can 
have no effect. Honor, interest, and every sensation of the 
heart, would plead against you. We are a people who think 
not as you think ; and what is equally true, vou cannot feel 
as we reel. The situation of the two countries are exceed- 
ingly different. Ours has been the seat of war ; yours has 
seen nothing of it. The most wanton destruction has been 
committed in our sight ; the most insolent barbarity has been 
acted on our feelings. We can look round and see the re- 
mains of burnt and destroyed houses, once the fair fruit of 
hard industry, and now the striking monuments of British 
brutality. We walk over the dead whom we loved, in every 
part of America, and remember by whom they fell. There 
is scarcely a village but brings to life some melancholy 
thought, and reminds us of what we have suffered, and of 
those we have lost by the inhumanity of Britain. A thou- 
sand images arise to us, which, from situation, you cannot 
see, and are accompanied by as many ideas which you can- 
not know ; and therefore your supposed system of reasoning 
would apply to nothing, and all your expectations die of 
themselves. 

The question whether England shall accede to the inde- 
pendence of America, and which your lordship says is to 
undergo a parliamentary discussion, is so very simple, 
and composed of so few cases, that it scarcely needs a 
debate. 

It is the only way out of an expensive and ruinous war, 
which has no object, and without which acknowledgment 
there can be no peace. 

But your lordship says, the sun of Great Britain will set 
whenever she acknowledges the independence of America. 
Whereas the metaphor would have been strictly just, to 
Have left the sun "vholly out of the figure, and have 



'.68 THE OBI SIB. 

ascribed her not acknowledging it to the influence of the 
moon. 

But the expression, if true, is the greatest confession of 
disgrace that could be made, and furnishes America with 
the highest notions of sovereign independent importance. 
Mr. Wedderburne, about the year 1776, made use of an 
idea of much the same kind, Helvnguish America ! says 
he What is it but to desire a giant to shrink spontaneously 
into a dwarf. 

Alas ! are those people who call themselves Englishmen, 
of so little internal consequence, that when America is gone, 
or shuts her eyes upon them, their sun is set, they can shine 
no more, but grope about in obscurity, and contract into 
insignificant animals ? Was America, then, the giant of the 
empire, and England only her dwarf in waiting ? Is the 
case so strangely altered, that those who once thought we 
could not live without them, are now brought to declare 
that they cannot exist without us ? Will thev tell to the 
world, and that from their first minister 01 state, that 
America is their all in all ; that it is by her importance only 
that they can live, and breathe, and have a being ? Will 
they, who long since threatened to bring us to their feet, 
uow themselves at ours, and own that without us they are 
aot a nation ? Are they become so unqualified to debate on 
independence, that they have lost all idea of it themselves, 
and are calling to the rocks and mountains of America to 
cover their insignificance? Or, if America is lost, is it 
manly to sob over it like a child for its rattle, and invite the 
Daughter of the world by declarations of disgrace ? Surely, 
a more consistent line of conduct would be to bear it without 
complaint ; and to show that England, without America, 
can preserve her independence, and a suitable rank with 
other European powers. You were not contented while you 
had her, and to weep for her now is childish. 

But lord Shelburne thinks something may yet be done. 
What that something is, or how it is to oe accomplished, is 
a matter in obscurity. By arms there is no hope. The 
experience of nearly eight years, with the expense of an 
hundred million pounds sterling, and the loss of two armies, 
must positively decide that point. Besides, the British have 
lost their interest in America with the disaffected. Every 
i/art of it has been tried. There is no new scene left for 
delusion : and the thousands who have been ruined by ad 
hering to them, and have no'v to qirt the settlements whict 



THE CRISIS. 169 

they had acquired, and be conveyed like transports to culti- 
vate the deserts of Augustine and Nova-Scotia, has put an 
end to all further expectations of aid. 

If you cast your eyes on the people of England, what have 
they to console themselves with for the minions expended ? 
Or, what encouragement is there left to continue throwing 
good money after bad ? America can carry on the war for 
ten years longer, and all the charges of government included, 
for less than you can defray the charges of war and govern- 
ment for one year. And I, who know both countries, know 
well, that the people of America can afford to pay their 
share of the expense much better than the people of Eng- 
land can. Besides, it is their own estates and property, their 
own rights, liberties and government, that they are defend- 
ing ; and were they not to do it, they would deserve to lose 
all, and none would pity them. The fault would be their 
own, and their punishment just. 

The British army in America care not how long the war 
lasts. They enjoy an easy and indolent life. They fatten 
on the follv of one country and the spoils of another ; and, 
between their plunder and their pay, may go home rich. 
But the case is very different with the laboring farmer, the 
working tradesman, and the necessitous poor in England, 
the sweat of whose brow goes day after day to feed, in 
prodigality and sloth, the army that is robbing both them 



and us. Kemoved from the eye of that country that sup- 
ports them, and distant from tne government that employs 
them, they cut and carve for themselves, and there is none 
to call them to account. 

But England will be ruined, says lord Shelburne, if 
America is independent. 

Then, I say, is England already ruined, for America is 
already independent : and if lord Shelburne will not allow 
this, he immediately denies the fact which he infers. Besides, 
to make England the mere creature of America, is paying 
too great a compliment to us, and too little to himself. 

But the declaration is a rhapsody of inconsistency. For 
to say, as lord Shelburne has numberless times said, that the 
war against America is ruinous, and yet to continue the 
prosecution of that ruinous war for the purpose of avoiding 
ruin, is a language which cannot be understood. Neither is 
it possible to see how the independence of America is to 
accomplish the ruin of England after the war is over, and 
yet uot affect it before. America cannot be more independ- 



170 THE CEI8IS. 

ent of her, nor a greater enemy to her, hereafter than she 
now is ; nor can England derive less advantages from her 
than at present : why then is ruin to follow in the best state 
of the case, and not in the worst ? And if not in the worst, 
why is it to follow at all ? 

That a nation is to be ruined by peace and commerce, and 
fourteen or fifteen millions a-year less expenses than before, 
is a new doctrine in politics. We have heard much clamor 
of national savings and economy ; but surely the true 
economy would be, to save the whole charge of a silly, foolish, 
and headstrong war ; because, compared with this, all other 
retrenchments are baubles and trifles. 

But is it possible that lord Shelburne can be serious in 
supposing that the least advantage can be obtained by arms, 
or that any advantage can be equal to the expense or the 
danger of attempting it ? Will not the capture of one army 
after another satisfy him, must all become prisoners ? Must 
England ever be the sport of hope, and the victim of delu- 
sion ? Sometimes our currency was to fail ; another time our 
army was to disband ; then whole provinces were to revolt. 
Such a general said this and that ; another wrote so and so ; 
lord Chatham was of this opinion ; and lord somebody else 
of another. To-day 20,000 Russians and 20 Russian ships 
of the line were to come ; to-morrow the empress was abused 
without mercy or decency. Then the emperor of Germany 
was to be bribed with a million of money, and the king of 
Prussia was to do wonderful things. At one time it was, 
Lo here ! and then it was, Lo there ! Sometimes this power, 
and sometimes that power, was to engage in the war, 
just as if the whole world was as mad and foolish as 
Britain. And thus, from year to year, has every straw been 
catched at, and every Will-with-a-wisp led them a new 
<?ance. 

This year a still newer folly is to take place. Lord Shel- 
burne wishes to be sent to congress, and he thinks that some- 
thing may be done. 

Are not the repeated declarations of congress, and which 
all America supports, that they will not even hear any pro- 
posals whatever, until the unconditional and unequivocal 
independence of America is recognised ; are not, I say, these 
declarations answer enough ? 

But for England to receive any thing from America now, 
after so many insults, injuries and outrages, acted towards 
'\s, would show such a spirit of meanness in her, that we 



THE OBI8I8. 171 

conld not but despise her for accepting it. Ajid so far from 
lord Shelburne's coming here to solicit it, t would be the 
greatest disgrace we could do them to offer it. England 
would appear a wretch indeed, at this time of day, to ask or 
owe any thing to the bounty of America. Has not the 
name of Englishmen blots enough upon it, without invent- 
ing more ? Even Lucifer would scorn to reign in heaven by 
permission, and yet an Englishman can creep for only an 
entrance into America. Or, has a land of liberty so many 
charms, that to be a door-keeper in it is better than to be 
an English minister of state ? 

But what can this expected something be ? Or, if obtained, 
what can it amount to, but new disgraces, contentions 
and quarrels ? The people of America have for years accus- 
tomea themselves to think and speak so freely and con- 
temptuously of English authority, and the inveteracy is so 
deeply rooted, that a person invested with any authority 
from that country, and attempting to exercise it nere, would 
have the life of a toad under a harrow. They would look 
on him as an interloper, to whom their compassion permit- 
ted a residence. He would be no more than the Mungo of 
a farce ; and if he disliked that, he must set off. It would be a 
station of degradation, debased by our pity, and despised by 
our pride, and would place England in a more contemptible 
situation than any she has vet been in during the war. We 
have too high an opinion of ourselves, ever to think of yield- 
ing again the least obedience to outlandish authority ; and 
for a thousand reasons, England would be the last country 
in the world toyield it to. She has been treacherous, and 
we know it. Her character is gone, and we have seen the 
funeral. 

Surely she loves to fish in troubled waters, and drink the 
cup of contention, or she would not now think of mingling 
her affairs with those of America. It would be like a fool- 
ish dotard taking to his arms the bride that despises him, or 
who has placed on his head the ensigns of her disgust. It is 
kissing the hand that boxes his ears, and proposing to renew 
the exchange. The thought is as servile as the war is wicked, 
and shows the last scene of the drama to be as inconsistent 
as the first. 

As America is gone, the only act of manhood is to let her 
<jo. Your lordship had no hand in the separation, and you 
will gain no honor by temporising politics. Besides, there 
is something so exceedingly whimsical, unsteady, and even 



172 THE CRISIS. 

insincere in the present conduct of England, that she ex 
hibits herself in the most dishonorable colors. 

On the second of August last, general Carleton and admi- 
ral Digby wrote to general Washington in these words : 

"The resolution of the house of commons, of the 27th of 
February last, has been placed in your excellency's hands, 
and intimations given at the same time that further pacific 
measures were likely to follow. Since which, until the 
present time, we have had no direct communications with 
England ; but a mail is now arrived, which brings us very 
important information. We are acquainted, sir, by authority, 
that negotiations for a general peace have already com- 
menced at Paris, and that Mr. Grenville is invested with full 
powers to treat with all the parties at war, and is now at 
Paris in execution of his commission. And we are further, 
sir, made acquainted, that his majesty ', in order to remove 
any obstacles to that peace which he so ardently wishes to 
restore, has commanded his ministers to direct Mr. Grenville, 
that tit independence of the Thirteen United Provinces, 
should be proposed by him in thejwst instance, instead of 
making it a condition of a general treaty." 

Now, taking your present measures into view, and com- 
paring them with the declaration in this letter, pray what is 
the word of your king, or his ministers, or the parliament, 

food for ? Must we not look upon you as a confederated 
ody of faithless, treacherous men, whose assurances are 
fraud, and their language deceit? What opinion can we 
possibly form of you, but that you are a lost, abandoned, 
profligate nation, who sport even with your own character, 
and are to be held by nothing but the bayonet or the halter ? 
To say, after this, that the sun of Q-reat Britain will be set 
whenever she acknowledges the independence of America, 
when the not doing it is the unqualified lie of government, 
can be no other than the language of ridicule, the jargon of 
inconsistency. There were thousands in America who pre 
dieted the delusion, and looked upon it as a trick of treachery, , 
to take us from our guard, and draw off our attention from 
the only system of finance, by which we can be called, or 
deserve to be called, a sovereign, independent people. The 
fraud, on your part, might be worth attempting, but the 
sacrifice to obtain it is too high. 

There are others who credited the assurance, because the^ 
thought it impossible that men who had their characters to 
establish, would begin it with a lie. The prosecution of the 



THB CRISIS. ITS 

war by the former ministry was savage and horrid ; since 
which it has been mean, trickish, and delusive. The one went 
greedily into the passion of revenge, the other into the subtle 
ties of low contrivance ; till, between the crimes of both, there 
is scarcely left a man in America, be he whig or tory, who 
does not despise or detest the conduct of Britain. 

The management of lord Shelburne, whatever may be his 
views, is a caution to us, and must be to the world, never 
to regard British assurances. A perfidy so notorious cannot 
be hid. It stands even in the public papers of New- York, 
with the names of Carleton and Digby affixed to it. It is a 
proclamation that the king of England is not to be believed ; 
that the spirit of lying is the governing principle of the 
ministry. It is holding up the character of the house of 
commons to public infamy, and warning all men not to credit 
them. Such are the consequences which lord Shelburne's 
management has brought upon his country. 

After the authorized declarations contained in Carleton 
and Digby's letter, you ought, from every motive of honor, 
policy and prudence, to have fulfilled them, whatever might 
have been the event. It was the least atonement that you 
could possibly make to America, and the greatest kindness 
you could do to yourselves : for you will save millions by a 
general peace, and you will lose as many by continuing the 
war. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, Oct. 29, 1782. 

P. S. The manuscript copy of this letter is sent your lord 
ship, by the way of our head-quarters, to New- York, inclos- 
ing a late pamphlet of mine, addressed to the abbe Raynal, 
which will serve to give your lordship some idea of the prin- 
ciples and sentiments of America. 

0. S. 



NUMBER XV. 

" THE times that tried men's souls," * are over and the 
greatest and completest revolution the world ever knew, 
gloriously and happily accomplished. 

* " These are the times that try men's souls." The Crisis No. L published 
December, 1776. 



174 THE CRISIS. 

But to pass from the extremes of danger to safety from 
the tumult of war to the tranquillity of peace, though sweet 
in 1 contemplation, requires a gradual composure of the sensea 
to receive it. Even calmness has the power of stunning 
when it opens too instantly upon us. The long and raging 
hurricane that should cease in a moment, would leave us in 
a state rather of wonder than enjoyment; and some 
moments of recollection must pass, before we could be cap- 
able of tasting the felicity of repose. There are but few in- 
stances, in which the mind is fitted for sudden transitions : 
it takes in its pleasures by reflection and comparison, and 
those must have time to act, before the relish for new scenes 
is complete. 

In the present case the mighty magnitude of the object 
the various uncertainties of fate it has undergone the 
numerous and complicated dangers we have suffered or 
escaped the eminence we now stand on, and the vast pros- 
pect before us, must all conspire to impress us with contem- 
plation. 

To see it in our power to make a world happy to teach 
mankind the art of being so to exhibit, on the theatre of 
the universe, a character hitherto unknown and to have, 
as it were, a new creation intrusted to our hands, are honors 
that command reflection, and can neither be too highly esti- 
mated, nor too gratefully received. 

In this pause then of recollection while the storm is 
ceasing, and the long agitated mind vibrating to a rest, let 
us look back on the scenes we have passed, and learn from 
experience what is yet to be done. 

Kever, I say, had a country so many openings to happi- 
ness as this. Her setting out in life, like the rising of a fail 
morning, was unclouded and promising. Her cause was 
good. Her principles just and liberal. Her temper serene 
and firm. Her conduct regulated by the nicest steps, and 
every thing about her wore the mark of honor. It is not 
every country (perhaps there is not another in the world) 
that can boast so fair an origin. Even the first settlement 
of America corresponds with the characrer of the revolution. 
Rome, once the proud mistress of the universe, was originally 
a band of ruffians. Plunder and rapine made her rich, and 
her oppression of millions made her great. But America 
need never be ashamed to tell her birth, nor relate the 
stages by which she rose to empire. 

The remembrance, then, of what is past, if it operates 



THE CRISIS. 175 

kL htly, must inspire her with the most laudable of all am- 
bition, that of adding to the fair fame she began with. The 
world has seen her great in adversity. Struggling, without 
a thought of yielding, beneath accumulated difficulties. 
Bravely, nay proudly, encountering distress, and rising in 
resolution as the storm increased. All this is justly due to 
her, for her fortitude has merited the character. Let, then, 
the world see that she can bear prosperity : and that her 
honeot virtue in time of peace, is equal to tne bravest virtue 
in time of war. 

She is now descending to the scenes of quiet and do- 
mestic life. Not beneath the cypress shade of disappoint- 
ment, but to enjoy in her own land, and under her own vine, 
the sweet of her labors, and the reward of her toil. In this 
situation, may she never forget that a fair national reputa- 
tion is of as much importance as independence. That it 
possesses a charm that wins upon the world, and makes 
even enemies civil. That it gives a dignity which is often 
superior to power, and commands reverence where pomp 
and splendor fail. 

It would be a circumstance ever to be lamented and never 
to be forgotten, were a single blot, from any cause what- 
ever, suffered to fall on a revolution, which to the end of 
time must be an honor to the age that accomplished it: 
and which has contributed more to enlighten the world, 
and diffuse a spirit of freedom and liberality among man- 
kind, than any human event (if this may be called one) that 
ever preceded it. 

It is not among the least of the calamities of a long con- 
tinued war, that it unhinges the mind from those nice sen- 
sations which at other times appear so amiable. The con- 
tinued spectacle of wo blunts the finer feelings, and the 
necessity of bearing with the sight, renders it familiar. In 
like manner, are many of the moral obligations of society 
weakened, till the custom of acting by necessity becomes 
an apology, wheie it is truly a crime. Yet let but a 
nation conceive rightly of its character, and it will be 
chastely just in protecting it. None never began with a 
fairer than America, and none can be under a greater obliga- 
tion to preserve it. 

The debt which America has contracted, compared with 
the cause she has gamed, and the advantages to flow from 
it, ought scarcely to bo mentioned. She has it in her choice 
to do, and to live as ha^py as she pleases. The world is 'v 



176 THE CRISIS. 

her bauds. She has no foreign power to monopolize hw 
commerce, perplex her legislation, or control her prosperity, 
fhe struggle is over, which must one day have happened, 
and, perhaps, never could have happened at a better time.* 
And instead of a domineering master, she has gained an 
ally, whose exemplary greatness, and universal liberality, 
have extorted a confession even from her enemies. 

With the blessings of peace, independence, and an uni- 
versal commerce, the states, individually and collectively, 
will have leisure and opportunity to regulate and establish 
their domestic concerns, and to put it beyond the power of 
calumny to throw the least reflection on their honor. Char- 
acter is much easier kept than recovered, and that man, if 
any such there be, who, from sinister views, or littleness of 



* That the revolution began at the exact period of time best fitted to the 
purpose, is sufficiently proved by the event. But the great hinge on which 
the whole machine turned, is the Union of the States ; and this union was 
naturally produced by the inability of any one state to support itself against 
any foreign enemy without the assistance of the rest. 

Had the states severally been less able than they were when the war began, 
their united strength would not have been equal to the undertaking, and they 
must in all human probability have failed. And, on the other hand, had they 
severally been more able, they might not have seen, or, what is more, might 
not have felt, the necessity of uniting : and, either by attempting to stand 
alone, or in small confederacies, would have been separately conquered. 

Now, as we cannot see a time (and many years must pass away before it 
can arrive) when the strength of any one state, or several united, can be equal 
to the whole of the present United States, and as we have seen the extreme 
difficulty of collectively prosecuting the war to a successful issue, and pre- 
serving our national importance in the world, therefore, from the experience 
we have had, and the knowledge we have gained, we must, unless we make a 
waste of wisdom, be strongly impressed with the advantage, as well as the 
necessity of strengthening that happy union which has been our salvation, 
and without which we should have been a ruined people. 

While I was writing this note, I cast my eye on the pamphlet, Common 
Sense, from which I shall make an extract, as it exactly applies to the case. 
It is as follows : 

" I have never met with a man, either in England or America, who hath 
not confessed it as his opinion that a separation between the countries would 
*ake place one time or other ; and there is no instance in which we have 
shown less judgment, than in endeavoring to describe, what we call, the ripe- 
ness or fitness of the continent for independence. 

"As all men allow the measure, and differ only in their opinion of the 
time, let us, in order to remove mistakes, take a general survey of things, and 
endeavor, if possible, to find out the very time. But we need not to go far, 
the inquiry ceases at once, for the time has found us. The general concur- 
rence, the glorious union of all things prove the fact. 

" It is not in numbers, but in a union, that our great strength lies. The con- 
tinent is just arrived at that pitch of strength in which no single colony is able 
to support itself, and the whole, when united, can accomplish the matter ; and 
either raor* cr less than this, might be fatal in its effects." 



THE CEI8I8. 177 

lends unseen his hand to injure it, contrives a wound 
it will never be in his power to heal. 

As we have established an inheritance for posterity, let 
that inheritance descend, with every mark of an honorable 
conveyance. The little it will cost, compared with the 
worth of the states, the greatness of the object, and the value 
of national character, will be a profitable exchange. 

But that which must more forcibly strike a thoughtful, 
penetrating mind, and which includes and renders easy all 
inferior concerns, is the Union of the States. On this our 
great national character depends. It is this which must 
give us importance abroad and security at home. It is 
tnrough this only, that we are, or can be nationally known 
in the world ; it is the flag of the United States which ren- 
ders our ships and commerce safe on the seas, or in a foreign 
port. Our Mediterranean passes must be obtained under 
the same style. All our treaties, whether of alliance, peace 
or commerce, are formed under the sovereignty of the United 
States, and Europe knows us by no other name or title. 

The division of the empire into states is for our own con- 
venience, but abroad this distinction ceases. The affairs of 
each state are local. They can go no further than to itself. 
And were the whole worm of even the richest of them ex- 
pended in revenue, it would not be sufficient to support sove- 
reignty against a foreign attack. In short, we have no 
other national sovereignty than as United States. It would 
even be fatal for us if we had too expensive to be main- 
tained, and impossible to be supported. Individuals, or in- 
dividual states, may call themselves what they please ; but 
the world, and especially the world of enemies, is not to be 
held in awe by the whistling of a name. Sovereignty must 
have power to protect all the parts that compose and consti- 
tute it ; and as UNITED STATES we are equal to the import- 
ance of the title, but otherwise we are not. Our union, well 
and wisely regulated and cemented, is the cheapest way of 
being great the easiest way of being powerful, and the 
happiest invention in government which the circumstances 
of America can admit of. Because it collects from each 
state, that which, by being inadequate, can be of no use to 
it, am 1 forms an aggregate that serves for all. 

The elates of Holland are an unfortunate instance of the 
effects 01 ; ndividual sovereignty. Their disjointed condition 
exposes then: to numerous intrigues, losses, calamities and 
enemies ; ana the almost Impossibility of bringing theii 



178 THE CRISIS. 

measures to a decision, and that decision into execution, ia 
to them, and would be to us, a source of endless misfortune. 

It is with confederated states as with individuals in soci- 
ety ; something must be yielded up to make the whole secure. 
In this view of things we gain by what we give, and draw 
an annual interest greater than the capital. I ever feel my- 
self hurt when I hear the union, that great palladium of our 
liberty and safety, the least irreverently spoken of. It is the 
most eacred thing in the constitution of America, and that 
which every man should be most proud and tender of. Our 
citizenship in the United States is our national character. 
Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local dis- 
tinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the 
former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANS our in- 
ferior one varies with the place. 

So far as my endeavors could go, they have all been di- 
rected to conciliate the affections, unite the interests, and 
draw and keep the mind of the country together ; and the 
better to assist in this foundation work of the revolution, I 
have avoided all places of profit or office, either in the state 
I live in, or in the United States ; kept myself at a distance 
from all parties and party connexions, and even disregarded 
all private and inferior concerns : and when we take into 
view the great work which we have gone through, and feel, 
as we ought to feel, the just importance of it, we shall then 
see, that the little wranglings and indecent contentions of 
personal parley, are as dishonorable tf our characters, as 
they are injurious to our repose. 

it was tne cause of America that made me an author. 
The force with which it struck my mind, and the dangerous 
condition the country appeared to me in, by courting an 
impossible and an unnatural reconciliation with those who 
were determined to reduce her, instead of striking out into 
the only line that could cement and save her, A DECLAKATION 
OF INDEPENDENCE, made it impossible for me, feeling as I did, 
to be silent : and if, in the course of more than seven years, 
I have rendered her any service, I have likewise added 
something to the reputation of literature, by freely and dis- 
interestedly employing it in the great, cause of mankind, 
and showing that there may be genius without prostitu- 
tion. 

Independence always appeared to me practicable and 
probable ; provided the sentiment of the country could be 
formed and bild to the obiect : and there is no instance in 



THB CRISIS. 179 

the world, where a people BO extended, and wedded to 
former habits of thinking, and under such a variety of cir- 
cumstances, were so instantly and effectually pervaded, by 
a turn in politics, as in the cade of independence, and who 
supported their opinion, undiminished, through such a 
succession of good and ill fortune, till they crowned it with 
success. 

But as the scenes of war are closed, and every man pre- 
paring for home and happier times, I therefore take my 
leave of the subject. I have most sincerely followed it from 
beginning to end, and through all its turns and windings : 
and whatever country I may hereafter be in, I shall always 
feel an honest pride at the part I have taken and acted, and 
a gratitude to nature and providence for putting it in my 
power to be of some use to mankind. 

COMMON SENSE. 

Philadelphia, April 19, 1788. 



NUMBER XVI. 
TO THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA. 

.br " Rivington's New-York Gazette," of December 6th, is 
a publication, under the appearance of a letter from Lon- 
don, dated September 30th; and is on a subject which 
demands the attention of the United States. 

The public will remember that a treaty of commerce be- 
tween the United States and England was set on foot last 
spring, and that until the said treaty could be completed, a 
bill w*s brought into the British parliament by the then 
chancellor of the exchequer, Mr. Pitt, to admit and legalize 
(as the case then required) the commerce of the United 
States into the British ports and dominions. But neither 
the one nor the other has been completed. The commercial 
treaty is either broken off, or remains as it began ; and the 
bill in parliament has been thrown aside. And in lieu 
thereof, a selfish system of English politics has started up, 
calculated to fetter the commerce of America, by engross- 
ing to England the carrying trade of the American produce 
to the West India islands. 



180 THE CRISIS. 

Among the advocates for this last measure is lord Shef- 
field, a member of the British parliament, who has published 
A pamphlet entitled " Observations on the Commerce of the 
American States." The pamphlet has two objects ; the one 
is to allure the Americans to purchase British manufac- 
tures ; and the other to spirit up the British parliament to 
prohibit the citizens of the United States from trading to 
the West India islands. 

Viewed in this light, the pamphlet, though in some parts 
dexterously written, is an absurdity. It offends, in the very 
act of endeavoring to ingratiate ; and his lordship as a poli- 
tician, ought not to have suffered the two objects to have 
appeared together. The letter alluded to, contains extracts 
from the pamphlet, with high encomiums on lord Sheffield, 
for laboriously endeavoring (as the letter styles it) "to 
show the mighty advantages of retaining the carrying trade." 

Since the publication of this pampnlet in England, the 
commerce of the United States to the West Indies, in 
American vessels, has been prohibited ; and all intercourse, 
except in British bottoms, the property of, and navigated 
oy British subjects, cut off. 

That a country has a right to be as foolish as it pleases, 
has been proved by the practice of England for many years 
past : in ner island situation, sequestered from the world, 
she forgets that her whispers are heard by other nations ; 
and in ner plans of politics and commerce, she seems not to 
know, that other votes are necessary besides her own. 
America would be equally as foolish as Britain, were she to 
suffer so great a degradation on her flag, and such a stroke 
on the freedom of her commerce, to pass without a balance. 

We admit the right of any nation to prohibit the com- 
merce of another into its own dominions, where there are no 
treaties to the contrary ; but as this right belongs to one 
side as well as the other, there is always a way left to bring 
avarice and insolence to reason. 

But the ground of security which lord Sheffield has chosen 
to erect his policy upon, is of a nature which ought, and I 
think must, awaken, in every American, a just and strong 
sense of national dignity. Lord Sheffield appears to be 
sensible, that in advising the British nation and parliament 
to engross to themselves so great a part of the carrying 
trade of America, he is attempting a measure which cannot 
succeed, if the politics of the United States be properly 
directed to counteract the assumption. 



THE CRISIS. 181 

But, says he, in his pamphlet, " It will be a long time 
before the American states can be brought to act as a nation, 
neither are they to be feared as such by us." 

What is this more or less than to tell us, that while we 
have no national system of commerce, the British will govern 
our trade by their own laws and proclamations as they 
please. The quotation discloses a truth too serious to be 
overlooked, and too mischievous not to be remedied. 

Among other circumstances which led them to this dis- 
covery, none could operate so effectually as the injudicious, 
uncandid and indecent opposition made by sundry persons 
in a certain state, to the recommendations of congress last 
winter, for an import duty of five per cent. It could not 
but explain to the British a weakness in the national power 
of America, and encourage them to attempt restrictions on 
her trade, which otherwise they would not have dared to 
hazard. Neither is there any state in the union, whose 
policy was more misdirected to its interest than the state I 
allude to, because her principal support is the carrying trade, 
which Britain, induced by the want of a well-centred power 
in the United States to protect and secure, is now attempt- 
ing to take away. It fortunately happened (and to no state 
in the union more than the state in question) that the termg 
of peace were agreed on before the opposition appeared, 
otherwise, there cannot be a doubt, that if the same idea of 
the diminished authority of America had occurred to them 
at that time as has occurred to them since, but they would 
have made the same grasp at the fisheries, as tney have 
done at the carrying trade. 

It is surprising that an authority which can be supported 
with so much ease, and so little expense, and capable of 
*uch extensive advantages to the country, should be cavilled 
<it by those whose duty it is to watch over it, and whose 
existence as a people depends upon it. But this, perhaps, 
will ever be the case, till some misfortune awakens us into 
reason, and the instance now before us is but a gentle begin- 
ning of what America must expect, unless she guards ner 
union with nicer care and stricter honor. United, she is 
formidable, and that with the least possible charge a nation 
can be so : separated, she is a medley of individual nothings, 
subject to the sport of foreign nations. 

It ia very probable that tne ingenuity of commerce may 
have found out a method to evade and supersede the inten- 
fj'/'m of thj British, in interdicting the trade with the TVest 



18JJ THB CRISIS. 

India islands. The language of both being the same, ana 
their customs well understood, the vessels of one country 
may, by deception, pass for those of another. But this would 
be a practice too debasing for a sovereign people to stoop 
to, and too profligate not to be discountenanced. An illicit 
trade, under any shape it can be placed, cannot be carried 
on without a violation of truth. America is now sovereign 
and independent, and ought to conduct her affairs in a regu- 
lar style of character. She has the same right to say that no 
British vessel shall enter her ports, or that no British manu- 
factures shall be imported, but in American bottoms, the 
property of, and navigated by American subjects, as Britain 
has to say the same thing respecting the West Indies. Or 
she may lay a duty of ten, fifteen, or twenty shillings per 
ton (exclusive of other duties) on every British vessel coming 
from any port of the "West Indies, where she is not permitted 
to trade, the said tonnage to continue as long on her side as 
the prohibition continues on the other. 

But it is only by acting in union, that the usurpations of 
foreign nations on the freedom of trade can be counteracted, 
and security extended to the commerce of America. And 
when we view a flag, which to the eye is beautiful, and to 
contemplate its rise and origin inspires a sensation of sublime 
delight, our national honor must unite with our interest to 
prevent injury to the one, or insult to the other. 

COMMON SENSE. 

AW York, Lkcember 9, 1788. 



MTD D THB CBIEIft. 



RIGHTS OF MAN 



fO MR BURKE'S ATTACK ON THI FRENCH WOLUTJflfc 
PART I. 



GJ-KORG-EJ W .A. S H I N" G^ T O 1ST , 

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 
'/ 

I present you a small treatise in defence of those principles of freedom which y ;! 
? .ilary virtue hath so eminently contributed to ostubl'sl' T" at the rights of man uiaj 
become as universal as your benevolence can wish, and that you may snjoy the happiness c '. 
toeing 'he new world regenerate the old, is the prayer of 
Sir, 

Tour much obliged, and 

Obedient humble sei vant, 

THOMAS PAINE 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 



PART I. 

AMONG the incivilities by which nations or individuals 
provoke and irritate each other, Mr. Burke's pamphlet on 
the French revolution is an extraordinary instance. Neither 
the people of France, nor the national assembly, were 
troubling themselves about the affairs of England, or the 
English parliament ; and why Mr. Burke should commence 
an unprovoked attack upon them, both in parliament and 
in public, is a conduct that cannot be pardoned on the score 
of manners, nor justified on that of policy. 

There is scarcely an epithet of abuse to be found in the 
English language, with which Mr. Burke has not loaded the 
French nation and the national assembly. Every thing 
which rancor, prejudice, ignorance or knowledge could sug- 

fest, are poured forth in trie copious fury of near four hun- 
red pages. In the strain and on the plan Mr. Burke was 
writing, he might have wrote on to as many thousand. 
"When the tongue or the pen is let loose in a phrenzy of 
passion, it is the man, and not the subject that becomes 
exhausted. 

Hitherto Mr. Burke has been mistaken and disappointed 
in the opinions he had formed on the affairs of France ; but 
such is the ingenuity of his hope, or the malignancy of his 
despair, that it furnishes him with new pretences to go on. 
There was a time when it was impossible to make Mr. 
Burke believe there would be any revolution in France. 
His opinion then was, that the French had neither spirit to 
undertake it, nor fortitude to support it ; and now that therj 
is one he seeks an escape by condemning it. 

D 



6 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

Not sufficiently content with abusing the national assem 
bly, a great part of his work is taken up with abusing Dr. 
Price (one of the best hearted men that exist) and the two 
societies in England, known by the name of the Revolution 
and the Constitutional societies. 

Dr. Price had preached a sermon on the 4th of Novem- 
ber, 1789, being the anniversary of what is called in Eng- 
land the revolution, which took place in 1688. Mr. Burke, 
speaking of this sermon, says, " the political divine proceeds 
dogmatically to assert, that, by the principles of the revolu- 
tion, the people of England have acquired three fundamental 
rights . 

1st, To choose our own governors. 

2d, To cashier them for misconduct. 

3d, To frame a government for ourselves." 

Dr. Price does not say that the right to do these things 
exists in this or in that person, or in this or in that descrip- 
tion of persons, but that it exists in the whole that it is a 
right resident in the nation. Mr. Burke, on the contrary, 
denies that such a right exists in the nation, either in whole 
or in part, or that it exists any where ; and what is still 
more strange and marvellous, he says, that " the people of 
England utterly disclaim such right, and that they will 
resist the practical assertion of it with their lives and for- 
tunes." That men will take up arms, and spend their lives 
and fortunes not to maintain their rights, but to maintain 
that they have not rights, is an entire new species of dis- 
covery, and suited to the paradoxical genius of Mr. Burke. 

The method which Mr. Burke takes to prove that the 
people of England have no such rights, and that such rights 
do not exist in the nation, either in whole or in part, or any 
where at all, is of the same marvellous and monstrous kind 
with what he hab already said ; for his arguments are, that 
the persons, or the generation of persons in whom they did 
exist, are dead, and with them the right is dead also. To 
prove this, he quotes a declaration made by parliament 
about an hundred years ago, to William and Mary, in these 
words : " The lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, 
do, in the name of the people aforesaid (meaning the peo- 
pl< of England then living) most humbly and faithfully 
sih nit themselves, their heirs and posterity FOR EVEK." He 
afe. quotes a clause of another act of parliament made in 
tin 1 ame reign, the terms of which, he says, " bind us 
(meaning the people of that day) our heirs and our po* 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 1 

verity, to them, their heirs and posterity, to the end of 
time." 

Mr. Buike considers his point sufficiently established by 
producing those clauses, which he enforces by saying that 
they exclude the right of the nation for ever / and not yet 
content with making such declarations, repeated over and 
over again, he further says, " that if the people of England 
possessed such a right before the revolution " (which he 
acknowledges to have been the case, not only in England, 
but throughout Europe at an early period) " yet that the Eng- 
lish nation did, at the time of the revolution, most solemnly 
renounce and abdicate it, for themselves, and for all their 
posterity for ever" 

As Mr. Burke occasionally applies the poison drawn from 
his horrid principles (if it is not a profanation to call them 
by the name of principles) not only to the English nation, 
but to the Frencn revolution and tne national assembly, and 
charges that august, illuminated and illuminating body of 
men with the epithet of usurpers, I shall, sans ceremonie, 
place another system of principles in opposition to his. 

The English parliament of 1688, did a certain thing, which 
for themselves and their constituents, they had a right to 
do, and which appeared right should be done ; but, in addi- 
tion to this right, which they possessed by delegation, they set 
up another right by assumption^ that of binding and control- 
ling posterity to the end of time. The case, therefore, divides 
itself into two parts ; the right which they possessed by dele- 

fation, and the right which they set up by assumption. The 
rst is admitted ; but with respect to the second, I reply : 
There never did, nor never can exist a parliament, or any 
description of men, or any generation of men, in any coun- 
try, possessed of the right or the power of binding or con- 
trolling posterity to the " end of time," or of commanding 
for ever how tne world shall be governed, or who shall 
govern it ; and therefore all such clauses, acts, or declara- 
tions, by which the makers of them attempt to do what they 
Aave neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power 
to execute, are in themselves null and void. Every age and 
generation must be as free to act for itself, in all causes, ap 
the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity 
and presumption of governing beyond the grave, is the most 
ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies. Man has no pro- 
perty in man ; neither has any generation a property in the 
generations which are to follow. The parliament or the 



EIGHTS OF MAH. 

people of 1688, or of any other period, had no more right to 
dispose of the people of the present day, or to bind or to 
control them in any shape whatever, than the parliament or 
the people of the present day have to dispose of, bind or 
control those who are to live an hundred or a thousand 
years hence. Every generation is and must be competent 
to all the purposes which its occasions require. It is the 
living and not the dead, that are to be accommodated. When 
man ceases to be, his power and his wants cease with him : 
and having no longer any participation in the concerns of 
this world, he has no longer any authority in directing who 
shall be its governors, or how its government shall be 
organized, or now administered. 

I am not contending for, nor against, any form of govern 
ment, nor for nor against any party, here or elsewhere. That 
which a whole nation chooses to do, it has a right to do. 
Mr. Burke denies it. Where then does the right exist ? I 
am contending for the right of the living and against their 
being willed away, and controlled and contracted for, by 
the manuscript-assumed authority of the dead ; and Mr. 
Burke is contending for the authority of the dead over the 
rights and freedom of the living. There was a time when 
kings disposed of their crowns by will upon their death-beds, 
and consigned the people like beasts of the field, to what- 
ever successor they appointed. This is now so exploded as 
scarcely to be remembered, and so monstrous as hardly to 
be believed : but the parliamentary clauses upon which Mr. 
Burke builds his political church, are of the same nature. 

The laws of every country must be analogous to some 
common principle. In England, no parent or master, nor 
all the authority of parliament, omnipotent as it has called 
itself, can bind or control the personal freedom even of an 
individual beyond the age of twenty-one years : on what 
ground of right then could the parliament of 1688, or any 
other parliament, bind all posterity for ever? 

Those who have quitted the world, and those who are not 
arrived yet in it, are as remote from each other as the utmost 
stretch of mortal imagination can conceive : what possible 
obligation then can exist between them, what rule or princi- 
ple can be laid down, that two nonentities, the one out of 
existence, and the other not in, and who never can meet in 
this world, that the one should control the other to the end 
of time? 

In England, it is said that money cannot be taken out of 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 9 

the pockets of the people without their consent ; but who 
authorized, and who could authorize the parliament of 1688 
to control and take away the freedom of posterity, and limit 
and confine their right of acting in certain cases for ever, 
who were not in existence to give or withhold their consent ? 

A greater absurdity cannot present itself to the under- 
standing of man, than what Mr. Burke offers to his readers. 
He tells them, and he tells the world to come, that a certain 
body of men who existed a hundred years ago, made a law, 
and that there does not now exist in the nation, nor never 
will, nor never can, a power to alter it. Under how many 
subtleties, or absurdities, has the divine right to govern been 
imposed on the credulity of mankind : Mr. Burke has dis- 
covered a new one, and he has shortened his journey to 
Rome, by appealing to the power of this infallible parlia- 
ment of former days ; and he produces what it has done as 
of divine authority ; for that power must be certainly more 
than human, which no human power to the end of time can 
alter. 

But Mr. Burke has done some servico, not to his cause, 
but to his country, by bringing those clauses into public 
view. They serve to demonstrate how nec-ees'.iry it is at all 
times to watch against the attempted encroachment of 
power, and to prevent its running to excess. It is some- 
what extraordinary that the offence for which James II. was 
expelled, that of setting up power by assumption, should 
be re-acted under another shape and form> by the parliament 
that expelled him. It shows that the rights of man were 
but imperfectly understood at the revolution ; for certain it 
is that the right which that parliament set up by assumption 
(for by delegation it had not, and could not have it, because 
none could give it) over the persons and freedom of posterity 
for ever, was of tne same tyrannical unfounded kind which 
James attempted to set up over the parliament and the 
nation, and for which he was expelled. 

The only difference is, (for in principle they differ not) 
that the one was an usurper over the living, and the other 
over the unborn ; and as the one has no better authority to 
stand upon than the other, both of them must be equally 
null and void, and of no effect. 

From what or whence, does Mr. Burke prove the right of 
any human power to bind posterity for ever? He has pro- 
duced his clauses ; but he must produce also his proofs that 
*uch a right existed, and show now it existed. If it ever 



10 RIGHTS OF MAS. 

existed, it must now exist ; for whatever appertains to the 
nature of man, cannot be annihilated by man. It is the 
nature of man to die, and he will continue to die as long as 
he continues to be born. But Mr. Burke has set up a sort 
of political Adam, in whom all posterity are bound for ever ; 
he must therefore prove that his Adam possessed such a 
power or such a right. 

The weaker any cord is, the less it will bear to be stretched, 
and the worse is the policy to stretch it, unless it is intended 
to break it. Had a person contemplated the overthrow of 
Mr. Burke's positions, he would have proceeded as Mr. 
Burke has done. He would have magnified the authorities, 
on purpose to have called the right of them into question ; 
and the instant the question of right was started, the autho- 
rities must have been given up. 

It requires but a very small glance of thought to perceive, 
that although laws made in one generation often continue 
hi force through succeeding generations, yet they continue 
to derive their force from the consent of the living. A law 
not repealed continues in force, not because it cannot be 
repealed, but because it is not repealed ; and the non-repeal- 
ingpasses for consent. 

But Mr. Burke's clauses have not even this qualification in 
their favour. They become null, by attempting to become 
immortal. The nature of them precludes consent. They 
destroy the right which they maght have, by grounding it on 
a right which they cannot have. Immortal power is not a 
human right, and therefore cannot be a right of parliament. 
The parliament of 1688 might as well have passed an act to 
have authorized itself to live for ever, as to make their 
authority live for ever. All, therefore, that can be said 
of them is, that they are a formality of words, of as mu ih 
import, as if those who used them had addressed a con- 
gratulation to themselves, and, in the oriental style of 
antiquity, had said, O ! parliament, live for ever ! 

The circumstances of the world are continually changing, 
and the opinions of men change also ; and as government 
is for the living, and not for the dead, it is the living only 
that has any right in it. That which may be thought right 
and found convenient in one age, may be thought wrong 
and found inconvenient in another. In such cases, who is 
to decide, the living, or the dead? 

As almost one hundred pages of Mr. Burke's book are 
employed upon those clauses, it will consequently follow. 



BIGHTS OF M1N. 11 

that if the clauses themselves, so far as they set up an 
assumed, usurped, dominion over posterity for ever, are 
unauthoritative, and in their nature null and void, that all 
his voluminous inferences and declamation drawn there- 
from, or founded thereon, are null and void also : and on 
this ground I rest the matter. 

We now come more particularly to the affairs of France. 
Mr. Burke's book has the appearance of being written as in- 
struction to the French nation ; but if I may permit myself the 
use of an extravagant metaphor, suited to the extravagance 
of the case, it is darkness attempting to illuminate light. 

"While I am writing this, there is accidentally before me 
some proposals for a declaration of rights by the marquis de 
la Fayette (I ask his pardon for using his former address, 
and do it only for distinction's sake) to the national assembly 
on the llth of July, 1789, three days before the taking of 
the Bastile ; and I cannot but be struck how opposite the 
sources are from which that gentleman and Mr. Burke 
draw their principles. Instead of referring to musty records 
and mouldy parchments, to prove that the rights of the 
living are lost, "renounced and abdicated for ever" by 
those who are now no more, as Mr. Burke has done, M. de 
.a Fayette applies to the living world, and emphatically 
says, " Call to mind the sentiments which nature has en- 
graved in the heart of every citizen, and which take a new 
Ibrce when they are solemnly recognized by all : for a na- 
tion to love liberty, it is sufficient that she knows it ; and 
to be free it is sufficient that she wills it." How dry, 
barren and obscure, is the source from which Mr. Burke la- 
bors ; and how ineffectual, though embellished with flowers, 
is all his declamation and his argument, compared with 
these clear, concise and soul-animating sentiments : few and 
short as they are, they lead on to a vast field of generous 
and manly thinking, and do not finish, like Mr. Burke's 
periods, with music in the ear and nothing in the heart. 

As I have introduced the mention of M. de la Fayette, I 
will take the liberty of adding an anecdote respecting his 
farewell address to the congress of America in 1783, and 
which occurred fresh to my mind when I saw Mr. Burke's 
thundering attack on the French revolution. M. de la 
Fayette went to America at an early period of the war, and 
continued a volunteer in her service to the end. His con- 
duct throughout the whole of that enterprise is one of the most 
extraordinary that .is to be found in the history of a young 



12 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

man, scarcely then twenty years of age. Situated in a 
country that was like the lap of sensual pleasure, and with 
the means of enjoying it, how few are there to be found that 
would exchange such a scene for the woods and wilderness 
of America, and pass the flowery years of youth in unpro- 
fitable danger and hardship ! But such is the fact. When 
the war ended, and he was on the point of taking his final 
departure, he presented himself to congress, and contem- 
plating, in his affectionate farewell, the revolution he had 
seen, expressed himself in these words : " May this great 
monument raised to Liberty , serve as a lesson to the oppressor, 
and an example to the oppressed!" When this address 
came to the hands of Dr. Franklin, who was then in France, 
he applied to count Yergennes to have it inserted in the 
French gazette, but never could obtain his consent. The 
fact was, that count Yergennes was an aristocratic despot, 
at home, and dreaded the example of the American revolu- 
tion in France, as certain other persons now dread the 
example of the French revolution in England; and Mr. 
Burke's tribute of fear (for in this light it must be con- 
sidered) runs parallel with count Yergennes' refusal. But 
to return more particularly to his work. 

" We have seen (says Mr. Burke) the French rebel against 
a mild and lawful monarch, with more fury, outrage and 
insult, than any people has been known to raise against 
the most illegal usurper, or the most sanguinary tyrant." 
This is one among a thousand other instances, in which Mr. 
Burke shows that he is ignorant of the springs and prin- 
ciples of the French revolution. 

It was not against Louis XYL but against the despotic 
principles of the government, that the nation revolted. 
These principles had not their origin in him, but in the 
original establishment, many centuries back ; and they were 
become too deeply rooted to be removed, and the Augean 
stable of parasites and plunderers too abominably filthy to 
be cleansed, by any thing short of complete and universal 
revolution. 

When it becomes necessary to do a thing, the whole heart 
should join in the measure, or it should not be attempted. 
That crisis was then arrived, and there remained no choice 
but to act with determined vigor, or not to act at all. The 
king was known to be the friend of the nation, and this cir- 
cumstance was favorable to the enterprise. Perhaps no man 
bred up in the style of an absolute king, ever possessed a 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 



heart so little disposed to the exercise of that species of 
power as the present king of France. But the principles of 
the government itself still remained the same. The mon- 
arch and monarchy were distinct and separate things ; and 
it was against the established despotism of the latter, and 
not against the person or principles of the former, that the 
revolt commenced, and the revolution has been carried on. 

Mr. Burke does not attend to this distinction between men 
and principles, and therefore he does not see that a revolt 
may take place against the despotism of the latter, while 
there lies no charge of despotism against the former. 

The natural moderation of Louis XYI. contributed no- 
thing to alter the hereditary despotism of the monarchy. All 
the tyrannies of former reigns, acted under that hereditary 
despotism, were still liable to be revived in the hands of a 
successor. It was not the respite of a reign that would 
satisfy France, enlightened as she was then become. A 
casual discontinuance of the practice of despotism, is not a 
discontinuance of its principles ; the former depends on the 
virtue of the individual who is in immediate possession of 
the power ; the latter, on the virtue and fortitude of the 
nation. In the case of Charles I. and James II. of England, 
the revolt was against the personal despotism of the men ; 
whereas in France, it was against the hereditary despotism 
of the established government. But men who can consign 
over the rights of posterity for ever on the authority of a 
mouldy parchment, like Mr. Burke, are not qualified to 
judge of this revolution. It takes in a field too vast for their 
views to explore, and proceeds with a mightiness of reason 
they cannot keep pace with. 

But there are many points of view in which this revolu- 
tion may be considered. When despotism has established 
itself for ages in a country, as in France, it is not in the per- 
son of the king only that it resides. It has the appearance 
of being so in show, and in nominal authority ; but it is not 
so in practice, and in fact. It has its standard every where. 
Every office and department has its despotism, founaed upon 
custom and usage. Every place has its Bastile, and every 
Bastile its despot. The original hereditary despotism resi- 
dent in the person of the king, divides and sub-divides itself 
into a thousand shapes and forms, till at last the whole of it 
is acted by deputation. This was the case in France ; and 
against this species of despotism, proceeding on through an 
labyrinth of office till the source of it is scarcely per- 



14 BIGHTS OF MAN. 

septible, there is no mode of redress. It strengthens itself 
by assuming the appearance of duty, and tyrannizes under 
thepretence of obeying. 

W hen a man reflects on the condition which France was in 
from the nature of her government, he will see other causes 
for revolt than those which immediately connect themselves 
with the person or character of Louis XVI. There were, 
if I may so express it, a thousand despotisms to be reformed 
in France, which had grown up under the hereditary des- 
potism of the monarchy, and become so rooted as to be in a 
great measure independent of it. Between the monarchy, 
the parliament, and the church, there was a rivalship of 
despotism : besides the feudal despotism operating locally, 
and the ministerial despotism operating everywhere. But 
Mr. Burke, by considering the king as the only possible ob- 
ject of a revolt, speaks as if France was a village, in which 
every thing that passed must be known to its commanding 
officer, and no oppression could be acted but what he could 
immediately control. Mr. Burke might have been in the 
Bastile his whole life, as well under Louis XYI. as Louis 
XIV. and neither the one or the other have known that 
such a man as Mr. Burke existed. The despotic principles 
of the government were the same in both reigns, though the 
dispositions of the men were as remote as tyranny and 
benevolence. 

What Mr. Burke considers as a reproach to the French 
revolution, that of bringing it forward under a reign more 
mild than the preceding ones, is one of its highest honors. 
The revolutions that have taken place in other European 
countries, have been excited by personal hatred. The rage 
was against the man, and he became the victim. But, in 
the instance of France, we see a revolution generated in the 
rational contemplation of the rights of man, and distin- 
guishing from the beginning between persons and principles. 

But Mr. Burke appears to have no idea of principles, 
when he is contemplating governments. " Ten years ago," 
says he, " I could have felicitated France on her having a 
government, without inquiring what the nature of that gov- 
ernment was or how it was administered." Is this the lan- 
guage of a rational man? Is it the language of a heart 
feeling as it ought to feel for the rights and happiness of the 
human race ? On this ground, Mr. Burke must compliment 
every government in the world, while the victims who suffer 
under them, whether sold into slavery or tortured out of 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 15 

existence, are wholly forgotten. It is power, and not prin- 
ciples, that Mr. Burke venerates; and under this abomina- 
ble depravity, he is disqualified to judge between them. 
Thus much for his opinion as to the occasion of the French 
revolution. I now proceed to other considerations. 

I know a place in America called Point-no-Point ; because 
as you proceed along the shore, gay and flowery as Mr. 
Burke's language, it continually recedes, and presents itself 
at a distance a-nead ; and when you have got as far as you 
can go, there is no point at all. Just thus is it with Mr. 
Burke's three hundred and fifty-six pages. It is therefore 
difficult to reply to him. But as the points that he wishes 
to establish may be inferred from what he abuses, it is in 
his paradoxes that we must look for his arguments. 

As to the tragic paintings by which Mr. Burke has out- 
raged his own imagination, and seeks to work upon that of 
his readers, they are very well calculated for theatrical repre- 
sentation, where facts are manufactured for the sake of 
show, and accommodated to produce, through the weakness 
of sympathy, a weeping enect. But Mr. Burke should 
recollect that he is writing history, and not plays / and that 
his readers will expect truth, and not the spouting rant of 
high-toned declamation. 

When we see a man dramatically lamenting in a publica- 
tion intended to be believed, that " The age of chivalry is 
gone /" that " the glory of Europe is extinguished^ forever /" 
that " the unbought grace of life (if any one knows what it 
is,) the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly senti- 
ment and heroic enterprise is gone /" And all this because 
the Quixotic age of cnivalric nonsense is gone, what opinion 
can we form of his judgment, or what regard can we pay to 
his facts? In the rhapsody of his imagination, he has dis- 
covered a world of windmills, and his sorrows are, that there 
are no Quixotes to attack them. But if the age of aris- 
tocracy, like that of chivalry, should fall, and they had 
originally some connexion, Mr. Burke, the trumpeter of the 
order, may continue his parody to the end, and finish with 
exclaiming " Othello's occupation's gone /" 

Notwithstanding Mr. Burke's horrid paintings, when the 
French revolution is compared with that of other countries, 
the astonishment will be, that it is marked with so few sacri- 
fices ; but this astonishment will cease when we reflect that 
it was principles, and not persons, thnt were the meditated 
objects of destruction. The mind of the nation was acted 



16 RIGHTS OF MAN. 

upon by a higher stimulus than what the consideration of 
persons could inspire, and sought a higher conquest than 
could be produced by the downfall of an enemy. Among 
the few who fell, there do not appear to be any that -were 
intentionally singled out. They, all of them had their fate 
in the circumstances of the moment, and were not pursued 
with that long, cold-blooded, unabated revenge which pur 
sued the unfortunate Scotch, in the affair of 1745. 

Through the whole of Mr. Burke's book I do not observe 
that the Bastile is mentioned more than once, and that with 
a kind of implication as if he was sorry it is pulled down, 
and wished it was built up again. " We have rebuilt New- 
gate (says he) and tenanted the mansion; and we have 
prisons almost as strong as the Bastile for those who dare to 
libel the queen of France."* As to what a madman, like 
the person called Lord George Gordon, might say, and to 
whom Newgate is rather a bedlam than a prison, it is un- 
worthy a rational consideration. It was a madman that 
'ibelled and that is sufficient apology, and it afforded an 
opportunity for confining him, which was the thing wished 
for : but certain it is that Mr. Burke, who does not call him- 
self a madman, whatever other people may do, has libelled, 
in the most unprovoked manner, and in the grossest style 
of the most vulgar abuse, the whole representative authority 
of France ; and yet Mr. Burke takes his seat in the British 
house of commons ! From his, violence and his grief, his 
silence on some points and his excess on others, it is difficult 
not to believe that Mr. Burke is sorry, extremely sorry, that 
arbitrary power, the power of the pope and the Bastile, are 
pulled down. 

Not one glance of compassion, not one commiserating 
reflection, that I can find throughout his book, has he. be- 
stowed on those that lingered out the most wretched of lives, 
a life without hope, in the most miserable of prisons. It ia 
painful to behold a man employing his talents to corrupt 
himself. Nature has been kinder to Mr. Burke than he has 

* Since writing the above, two other places occur in Mr. Burke's pamphlet 
in which the name of Bastile is mentioned but in the same manner. In the 
one, he introduces it in a sort of obscure question, and asks " Will any min- 
jsters who now serve such a king with but a decent appearance of respect, 
cordially obey the orders of those whom but the other day, in his name, they 
had committed to the Bastile?" In the other the taking it is mentioned as 
implying criminality in the French guards who assisted in demolishing it 
" They have not," says he, " forgot the taking the king's castles at Paris." 
This is Mr. Burke, who pretends to write on constitutional frer ions. 



BIGHTS Of MAN. 17 

to her. He is not affected by the reality of distress touching 
upon his heart, but by the showy resemblance of it striking 
his imagination. He pities the plumage but forgets the 
dying bird. Accustomed to kiss the aristocratical hand that 
hath purloined him from himself, he degenerates into a com- 
position of art, and the genuine soul of nature forsakes him. 
His hero or his heroine must be a tragedy- victim, expiring in 
show, and not the real prisoner of misery, sliding into death 
in the silence of a dungeon. 

As Mr. Burke has passed over the whole transaction of the 
Bastile (and his silence is nothing in his favour) and has 
entertained his readers with reflections on supposed facts, 
distorted into real falsehoods, I will give, since he has not, 
some account of the circumstances which preceded that 
transaction. They will serve to show that less mischief 
could scarce have accompanied such an event, when con- 
sidered with the treacherous and hostile aggravations of the 
enemies of the revolution. 

The mind can hardly picture to itself a more tremendous 
scene than what the city of Paris exhibited at the time of 
taking the Bastile, and for two days before and after, nor 
conceive the possibility of its quieting so soon. At a dis- 
tance, this transaction has appeared only as an act of heroism 
standing on itself : and the close political connexion it had 
with the revolution is lost in the brilliancy of the achieve- 
ment. But we are to consider it as the strength of the 
parties, brought man to man, and contending for the issue. 
The Bastile was to be either the prize or the prison of the 
assailants. The downfall of it included the idea of the 
downfall of despotism; and this compounded image was 
become as figuratively united, as Bunyan's Doubting Castle 
and giant Despair. 

The national assembly before and at the time of taking 
the Bastile, were sitting at Versailles, twelve miles distant 
from Paris. About a week before the rising of the Paris- 
ians and their taking the Bastile, it was discovered that a 
plot was forming, at the head of which was the count 
d'Artois, the king's youngest brother, for demolishing the 
national assembly, seizing its members, and thereby crush- 
ing, by a coup de ma/w, all hopes and prospects of forming 
a free government. For the sake of humanity, as well as 01 
freedom, it is well this plan did not succeed. Examples are 
not wanting to show how dreadfully vindictive and cruel are 



IS RIGHTS OF MAS. 

all old governments, when they are successful against what 
they call a revolt. 

This plan must have been some time in contemplation ; 
because, in order to carry it into execution, it was necessary 
to collect a large military force round Paris, and to cut on 
the communication between that city and the national assem- 
bly at Versailles. The troops destined for this service were 
chiefly the foreign troops in the pay of France, and who for 
this particular purpose, were drawn from the distant pro- 
vinces where they were then stationed. When they were 
collected, to the amount of between twenty-five and thirty 
thousand, it was judged time to put the plan in execution. 
The ministry who were then in office, and who were friendly 
to the revolution, were instantly dismissed, and a new 
ministry formed of those who had concerted the project : 
among whom was count de Broglio, and to his share was 
given the command of those troops. The character of this 
man, as described to me in a letter which I communicated 
to Mr. Burke before he began to write his book, and from 
an authority which Mr. Burke well knows was good, was 
that of " a high-flying aristocrat, cool, and capable of every 
mischief." 

While these matters were agitating, the national assembly 
stood in the most perilous and critical situation that a body 
of men can be supposed to act in. They were the devoted 
victims, and they knew it. They had the hearts and wishes 
of their country on their side, but military authority they 
had none. The guards of Broglio surrounded the hall where 
the assembly sat, ready, at the word of command, to seize 
their persons, as had been done the year before to the parlia- 
ment in Paris. Had the national assembly deserted their 
trust, or had they exhibited signs of weakness or fear, their 
enemies had been encouragea, and the country depressed. 
When the situation they stood in, the cause they were 
engaged in, and the crisis then ready to burst which should 
determine their personal and political fate, and that of their 
country, and probably of Europe, are taken into one visw, 
none but a heart callous with prejudice, or corrupted by 
dependance, can avoid interesting itself in their success. 

The archbishop of Yienne was at this time president of the 
national assembly ; a person too old to undergo the scene 
that a few days, or a few hours, might bring forth. A man 
of more activity, and bolder fortitude, was necessary ; and 
tho national assembly chuse (under the form of vice-presi 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 1$ 

-dent, for the presidency still rested in tlie archbishop) M. de 
la Fayette ; and this is the only instance of a vice-president 
being chosen. It was at the moment this storm was pend- 
ing, July 11, that a declaration of rights was brought for- 
ward by M. de la Fayette, and is the same which is alluded 
to in page 51. It was hastily drawn up, and makes only a 
part of a more extensive declaration 01 rights, agreed upon 
and adopted afterwards by the national assembly. The par- 
ticular reason for bringing it forward at this moment (M. de 
la Fayette has since informed me) was, that if the national 
assembly should fall in the threatened destruction that then 
surrounded it, some trace of its principles might have a 
chance of surviving the wreck. 

Every thing was now drawing to a crisis. The event was 
freedom or slavery. On one side an army of nearly thirty 
thousand men ; on the other an unarmed body of citizens, 
for the citizens of Paris on whom the national assembly 
must then immediately depend, were as unarmed and un- 
disciplined as the citizens of London are now. The French 
guards had given strong symptoms of their being attached 
to the national cause ; but their numbers were small, not a 
tenth part of the force which Broglio commanded, and their 
officers were in the interest of Broglio. 

Matters being now ripe for execution, the new ministry 
made their appearance in office. The reader will carry in 
his mind, that the Bastile was taken the 14th of July : the 
point of time I am how speaking to, is the 12th. As soon 
as the news of the change of ministry reached Paris in the 
afternoon, all the play-houses and places of entertainment, 
sliops and bouses, were shut up. The change of ministry 
was considered as the prelude of hostilities, and the opinion 
was rightly founded. 

The foreign troops began to advance towards the city. 
The prince de Lambesc, who commanded a body of German 
cavalry, approached by the palace of Louis X V . which con- 
nects itself with some of the streets. In his march he in- 
sulted and struck an old man with his sword. The French 
are remarkable for their respect to old age, and the insolence 
with which it appeared to be done, uniting with the general 
fermentation they were in, produced a powerful effect, and 
a cry of to arms ! to a/rms / spread itself in a moment over 
the whole city. 

Arms they had none, nor scarcely any who knew the use 
of them ; but desperate resolution, when every hope is at 



20 RIGHTS OF MAN. 

stake, supplies, for a while, the want of anus, i^eur where 
the prince de Lambesc was drawn up, were large piles of 
stones collected for building the new bridge, and with these 
the people attacked the cavalry. A party of the French 
guards, upon hearing the firing, rushed from their quarters 
and joined the people; and night coming on, the cavalry 
retreated. 

The streets of Paris, being narrow, are favourable for de- 
fence ; and the loftiness of the houses, consisting of many 
stories, from which great annoyance might be given, secured 
them against nocturnal enterprises ; and the night was spent 
in providing themselves with every sort of weapon they 
could make or procure : guns, swords, blacksmiths' ham- 
mers, carpenters' axes, iron crows, pikes, halberds, pitchforks, 
spits, clubs, &c. 

The incredible numbers with which they assembled the 
next morning, and the still more incredible resolution they 
exhibited embarrassed and astonished their enemies. Little 
did the new ministry expect such a salute. Accustomed to 
slavery themselves, they had no idea that liberty was capa- 
ble of such inspiration, or that a body of unarmed citizens 
would dare face the military force of thirty thousand men. 
Every moment of this day was employed in collecting arms, 
concerting plans, and arranging themselves in the best order 
which sucn an instantaneous movement could afford. 
.Broglio continued lying around the city, but made no further 
advances this day, and the succeeding night passed with 
as much tranquillity as such a scene could possibly pro- 
duce. 

But the defence only was not the object of the citizens. 
They had a cause at stake, on which depended their freedom 
or their slavery. They every moment expected an attack, 
or to hear of one made on the national assembly ; and in 
such a situation, the most prompt measures are sometimes 
the best. The object that now presented itself, was the 
Bastile ; and the eclat of carrying such a fortress in the face 
of such an army, could not fail to strike terror into the new 
ministry, who had scarcely yet had time to meet. By 
some intercepted correspondence this morning, it was dis- 
covered that the mayor of Paris, M. de Flesseles, who ap- 
peared to be in their interest, was betraying them ; and from 
this discovery there remained no doubt that Broglio would 
reinforce the Bastile the ensuing evening. It was therefore 
necessary to attack it that day ; but before this could be 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 31 

done, it was first necessary to procure a better supply of 
arms than they were then possessed of. 

There was, adjoining to the city, a large magazine of 
arms deposited at the hospital of the invalids, which the 
citizens summoned to surrender ; and as the place was not 
defensible, nor attempted much defence, they soon suc- 
ceeded. Thus supplied, they marched to attack the Bastile ; 
a vast mixed multitude of all ages and of all degrees, and 
armed with all sorts of weapons. Imagination would fail 
of describing to itself the appearance of such a procession, 
and of the anxiety for the events which a few hours or a 
few minutes might produce. What plans the ministry was 
forming, were as unknown to the people within the city, as 
what the citizens were doing was unknown to them ; and 
what movements Broglio might make for the support or 
relief of the place, were to the citizens equally unknown. 
All was mystery and hazard. 

That the Bastile was attacked with an enthusiasm of 
heroism, such only as the highest animation of liberty could 
inspire, and carried in the space of a few hours, is an event 
which the world is fully possessed of. I am not undertaking 
a detail of the attack, but bringing into view the conspiracy 
against the nation which provoked it, and which fell with 
the Bastile. The prison to which the new ministry were 
dooming the national assembly, in addition to its being the 
high altar and castle of despotism, became the proper object 
to begin with. This enterprise broke up the new ministry, 
who began now to fly from the ruin they had prepared for 
others. The troops of Broglio dispersed, and himself fled also. 

Mr. Burke has spoken a great deal about plots, and he 
has never once spoken of this plot against the national as- 
sembly and the 1'iberties of the nation ; and that he might 
not, 'ie has passed over all the circumstances that might 
throw it in his way. The exiles who have fled from France, 
whose cause he so much interests himself in, and from whom 
he has had his lesson, fled in consequence of the miscarriage 
of this plot. No plot was formed against them : it was 
they who were plotting against others ; and those who fell, 
met, not unjustly, the punishment they were preparing to 
execute. But will Mr. Burke say that if this plot, con- 
trived with the subtlety of an ambuscade, had succeeded, the 
successful party would have restrained their wrath so soon? 
Let the history of all old governments answer the question. 

Whom has the national assembly brought to the scaffold f 



22 BIGHTS OF MAJS. 

None. They were themselves the devoted victims of thig 
plot, and they have not retaliated ; why then are they 
charged with revenge they have not acted? In the tre 
mendous breaking forth of a whole people, in which all 
degrees, tempers and characters are confounded, and de- 
livering themselves by a miracle of exertion, from the 
destruction meditated against them, is it to be expected 
that nothing will happen ? When men are sore with the 
sense of oppressions, and menaced with the prospect of new 
ones, is the calmness of philosophy, or the palsy of insen- 
sibility to be looked for? Mr. Burke exclaims against 
outrage, yet the greatest is that which he has committed. 
His book is a volume of outrage, and not apologized for by 
the impulse of a moment, but cherished through a space of 
ten months ; yet Mr. Burke had no provocation, no life, no 
interest at stake. 

More citizens fell in this struggle than of their opponents ; 
but four or five persons were seized by the populace, and 
instantly put to death ; the governor of the Bastile and the 
mayor of Paris, who was detected in the act of betraying 
them ; and afterwards Foulon, one of the new ministry, and 
Berthier, his son-in-law who had accepted the office of 
intendant of Paris. Their heads were stuck upon pikes, and 
carried about the city ; and it is upon this mode of punish- 
ment that Mr. Burke builds a great part of his tragic 
scenes. Let us therefore examine how men came by the 
idea of punishing in this manner. 

They learn it from the governments they live under ; and 
retaliate the punishments, they have been accustomed to 
behold. The heads stuck upon pikes which remained for 
years on Temple-bar differed nothing in the horror of the 
scene from those carried about on the pikes at Paris : yet 
this was done by the English government. It may, per- 
haps, be said, that it signifies nothing to a man what is 
done to him after he is dead ; but it signifies much to the 
living : it either tortures their feelings or hardens their 
hearts ; and in either case, it instructs them how to punish 
when power falls into their hands. 

Lay then the axe to the root, and teach governments hu- 
manity. It is their sanguinary punishments which corrupt 
mankind. In England, the punishment in certain cases is, 
by hanging, drawi'ng, and quartering the heart of the 
sufferer is cut out, and held up to the view of the populace. 
In France, under the former government, the punishments 



BIGHTS OF KAN. 23 

were not less barbarous. Who does not remember the exe- 
cution of Damien, torn to pieces by horses ? The effect of 
these cruel spectacles exhibited to the populace, is to destroy 
tenderness or excite revenge ; and by the base and false idea 
of governing men by terror instead of reason, they become 
precedents. It is over the lowest class of mankind that gov- 
ernment by terror is intended to operate, and it is on them 
that it operates to the worst effect. They have sense enough 
to feel that they are the objects aimed at ; and they inflict 
in their turn the examples ot terror they have been instructed 
to practise. 

There are in all European countries, a large class of peo- 
ple of that description which in England are called the 
" mob" Of this class were those who committed the burn- 
ings and devastations in London in 1780, and of this clasp 
were those who carried the heads upon pikes in Paris. Fou- 
lon and Berthier were taken up in the country, and sent to 
Paris to undergo their examination at the hotel de Yille ; 
for the national assembly, immediately on the new ministry 
coming into office, passed a decree, which they communi- 
cated to the king and cabinet, that they (the national assem- 
bly) would hold the ministry, of which Foulon was one, re- 
sponsible for the measures they were advising and pursuing ; 
but the mob, incensed at the appearance of Foulon and Ber- 
thier, tore them from their conductors before they were car- 
ried to the hotel de Yille, and executed them on the spot. 
Why then does Mr. Burke charge outrages of this kind upon 
a wnole people ? As well may he charge the riots and out- 
rages of 1780 on the whole people of London, or those in 
Ireland on all his country. 

But everything we see or hear offensive to our feelings, 
and derogatory to the human character, should lead to other 
reflections than those of reproach. Even the beings who 
commit them have some claim to our consideration. How 
then is it that such vast classes of mankind as are distin- 
guished by the appellation of the vulgar, or the ignorant 
mob, are so numerous in all old countries ? The instant we 
ask ourselves this question, reflection finds an answer. They 
arise, as an unavoidable consequence, out of the ill construc- 
tion of all the old government in Europe, England included 
with the rest. It is by distortedly exalting some men, that 
others are distortedly debased, till the whole is out of nature. 
A. vast mass of mankind are degradedly thrown into the 
back ground of the human picture, to bring forward, with 



24 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

greater glare, the puppet-show of state and aristocracy. In 
the commencement of a revolution, those men are rather the 
followers of the camp than of the standard of liberty, and 
have yet to be instructed how to reverence it. 

I give to Mr. Burke all his theatrical exaggerations for 
facts, and I then ask him, if they do not establish the cer- 
tainty of what I here lay down ? Admitting them to be 
true, they show the necessity of the French revolution, as 
much as any one thing he could have asserted. These out- 
rages are not the effect of the principles of the revolution, 
but of the degraded mind that existed before the revolution, 
and which the revolution is calculated to reform. Place 
them then to their proper cause, and take the reproach of 
them to your own side. 

It is to the honor of the national assembly, and the city 
of Paris, that during such a tremendous scene of arms and 
confusion, beyond the control of all authority, that they 
have been able by the influence of example and exhortation, 
to restrain so much. Never was more pains taken to in- 
struct and enlighten mankind, and to make them see that 
their interest consisted in their virtue, and not in their re- 
venge, than what have been displayed in the revolution of 
France. I now proceed to make some remarks on Mr. 
Burke's account of the expedition to Versailles, on the 5th 
and 6th of October. 

I can consider Mr. Burke's book in scarcely any other light 
than a dramatic performance ; and he must, I think, have 
considered it in the same light himself, by the poetical liber- 
ties he has taken of omitting some facts, distorting others, 
and making the machinery bend to produce a stage effect. 
Of this kind is his account of the expedition to Versailles. 
He begins this account by omitting the only facts which, as 
causes, are known to be true ; every thing beyond these is 
conjecture even in Paris ; and he then works up a tale ac- 
commodated to his own passions and prejudices. 

It is to be observed throughout Mr. JBurke's book, that h ) 
never speaks of plots against the revolution ; and it is from 
those plots that all the mischiefs have arisen. It suits his 
purpose to exhibit consequences without their causes. It is 
one of the arts of the drama to do so. If the crimes of 
men were exhibited with their suffering, the stage effect 
would sometimes be lost, and the audience would be inclined 
to approve where it was intended they should commiserate. 

After all the investigations that have been made into thii 



EIGHTS OF MAN. 23 

iitiicate affair (the expedition to Versailles,) it still remains 
enveloped in all that kind of mystery whicn ever accorapa 
nies events produced more from a concurrence of awkward 
circumstances, than from fixed design. While the charac- 
ters of men are forming, as is always the case in revolutions, 
there is a reciprocal suspicion, and a disposition to misin- 
terpret each other; and even parties directly opposite in 
principle, will sometimes concur in pushing forward the 
same movement with very different views, and with the 
hopes of its producing very different consequences. A great 
deal of this may be discovered in this embarrassed affair, 
and yet the issue of the whole was what nobody had in 
view. 

The only things certainly known are, that congiderable 
uneasiness was at this time excited in Paris, by the delay of 
the king in not sanctioning and forwarding the decrees of 
the national assembly, particularly that of the declaration 
of the rights of man, and the decrees of ^h^ fourth of August, 
which contained the foundation principles on whicn the con- 
stitution was to be erected. The kindest, and perhaps tho 
fairest, conjecture upon this matter is, that some of tho 
ministers intended to make observations upon certain parts 
of them, before they were finally sanctioned and sent to tho 
provinces ; but be tnis as it may, the enemies of the revolu- 
tion derived hopes from the delay, and the friends of the 
revolution, uneasiness. 

During this state of suspense, the gardes du corps, which 
was composed, as such regiments generally are, of persons 
much connected with the court, gave an entertainment at 
Versailles (Oct. 1,) to some foreign regiments then arrived ; 
and when the entertainment was at its height, on a signal 
given, the gardes du corps tore the national cockade from 
tneir hats, trampled it under foot, and replaced it with a 
counter cockade prepared for the purpose. An indig- 
nity of this kind amounted to defiance. It was like declar- 
ing war; and if men will give challenges, they must 
expect consequences. But all this Mr. Burke has carefully 
kept out of sight. He begins his account by saying, " His- 
tory will record, that on the morning of the 6th of October, 
1789, the king and queen of France, after a day of confu- 
sion, alarm, dismay and slaughter, lay down under the 
pledged security of public faith, to indulge nature in. a few 
hours of respite, and troub.ed melancholy repose." This is 
neither the sober style of history, nor the intention oi it. 



26 BIGHTS OF MAN 

It leaves every thing to be guessed at, and 'mistaken One 
would at least think there nad been a battle ; and a battle 
there probably would have been, had it not been for the 
moderating prudence of those whom Mr. Burke involves in 
his censures. By his keeping the gardes du corps out of 
sight Mr. Burke has afforded himself the dramatic licence 
of putting the king and queen in their places, as if the 
object of the expedition was against them. But, to return 
to my account 

This conduct of the gardes du corps, as might well be 
expected, alarmed and enraged the Parisians : the colors of 
the cause and the cause itself, were become too united to 
mistake the intention of the insult, and the Parisians were 
determined to call the gardes du corps to an account. There 
was certainly nothing of the cowardice of assassination in 
marching in the face of day to demand satisfaction, if such 
a phrase may be used, of a body of armed men who had 
voluntarily given defiance. But the circumstance which 
serves to throw this affair into embarrassment is, that the 
enemies of the revolution appear to have encouraged it, as 
well as its friends. The one hoped to prevent a civil war, 
by 'checking it in time, and the other to make one. The 
hopes of those opposed to the revolution, rested in making 
the king of their party, and getting him from Versailles to 
Metz. where they expected to collect a force, and set up a 
standard. We have therefore two different objects presenting 
themselves at the same time, and to be accomplished by the 
same means ; the one, to chastise the gardes du corps which 
was the object of the Parisians ; the other, to render the 
confusion of such a scene an inducement to the king to set 
off for Metz. 

On the 5th of October, a very numerous body of women, 
and men in the disguise of women, collected round the hotel 
de Yille, or town hall, at Paris, and set off for Versailles. 
Their professed object was the gardes du corps/ but pru- 
dent men readily recollected that mischief is easier begun 
than ended ;. and this impressed itself with the more force, 
from the suspicions already stated, and the irregularity of 
such a cavalcade. As soon therefore as a sufficient force 
could be collected, M. de la Fayette, by orders from the 
civil authority of Paris, set off after them at the head of 
twenty thousand of the Paris militia. The revolution could 
derive no benefit from confusion, and itg opposers might. 
By an amiable and spirited manner of address, he had 



RIGHTS OP MAN. 27 

hitherto been fortunate in calming disquietudes, and in this 
he was extraordinarily successful ; to frustrate, therefore, the 
hopes of those who might seek to improve this scene into a 
sort of justifiable necessity for the king's quitting Versailles 
and withdrawing to Metz, and to prevent, at the same time, 
tho consequences that might ensue between the gardes du 
corps and this phalanx ot men and women, he forwarded 
expresses to the Jsing, that he was on his march to Versailles, 
by the orders of the civil authority of Paris, for the purpose 
01 peace and protection, expressing at the same time the 
necessity of restraining the gardes du corps from firing on 
the people.* 

He arrived at Versailles between ten and eleven o'clock 
at night. The gardes du corps were drawn up, and the 
people had arrived some time before, but every thing had 
remained suspended. Wisdom and policy now consisted in 
changing a scene of danger into a happy event. M. de la 
Fayette became the mediator between the enraged parties ; 
and the king, to remove the uneasiness which had arisen 
from the delay already stated, sent for the president of the 
national assembly, and signed the declaration of the rights 
of man, and such other parts of the constitution as were in 
readiness. 

It was now about one in the morning. Everv thing ap- 
peared to be composed, and a general congratulation took 
place. At the beat of drum a proclamation was made, that 
the citizens of Versailles would give the hospitality of their 
houses to their fellow-citizens of Paris. Tnose who could 
not be accommodated in this manner, remained in the 
streets, or took up their quarters in the churches ; and at 
two o'clock the king and queen retired. 

In this state matters passed until the break of day, when a 
a fresh disturbance arose from the censurable conduct of some 
of both parties ; for such characters there will be in all such 
scenes. One of the gardes du corps appeared at one of the 
windows of the palace, and the people who had remained 
during the night in the streets accosted him with reviling 
and provocative language. Instead of retiring, as in such a 
case prudence would have dictated, he presented his musket, 
fired, and killed one of the Paris militia. The peace being 
thus broken, the people rushed into the palace in quest of 
the offender. They attacked the quarters of the gardes du 

* I am warranted in asserting this, as I had it from M. de la FayettJ, witb 
wlitirn I have livpij iii habits of r-iendship for fourteen jears. 



28 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

corps within the palace, and pursued them through the 
avenues of it, and to the apartments of the king. On this 
tumult, not the queen only, as Mr. Burke has represented 
it, but every person in the palace, was awakened and 
alarmed ; and M. de la Fayette had a second time to inter- 
pose between the parties, the event of which was, that the 
yardes du corps put on the national cockade, and the matter 
ended, as by oblivion, after the loss of two or three lives. 

During the latter part of the time in which this confusion 
was acting, the king and queen were in public at the bal- 
cony, and neither of them concealed for safety's sake, as Mr. 
Burke insinuates. Matters being thus appeased, and tran- 
quillity restored, a general acclamation broke forth, of le roi 
a Paris le roi a Paris the king to Paris. It was the 
shout of peace, and immediately accepted on the part of the 
king. By this measure, all future projects of trepanning 
the king to Metz, and setting up the standard of opposition 
to the constitution were prevented, and the suspicions extin- 
guished. The king and his family reached Paris in the 
evening, and were congratulated on their arrival by M. 
Bailley, the mayor of Paris, in the name of the citizens. 
Mr. Burke, who throughout his book confounds things, per- 
sons, and principles, has, in his remarks on M. Bailley's 
address, confounded time also. He censures M. Bailley for 
calling it, " un bon jour" a good day. Mr. Burke should 
have informed himself, that this scene took up the space of 
two days, the day on which it began with every appearance 
of danger and mischief, and the day on which it terminated 
without the mischiefs that threatened ; and that it is to this 
peaceful termination that M. Bailley alludes, and to the 
arrival of the king at Paris. Not less than three hundred 
thousand persons arranged themselves in the procession from 
Versailles to Paris, and not an act of molestation was com- 
mitted during the whole march. 

Mr. Burke, on the authority of M. Lally Tollendal, a 
deserter from the national assembly, says, that on entering 
Paris, the people shouted, " tons les eveques a la lanterne. 
AH bishops to be hanged at the lantern or lamp-posts. It 
was surprising that nobody should hear this but Lally Tol- 
lendal, and that nobody should believe it but Mr. Burke. 
It has not the least connexion with any part of the transac- 
tion, and is totally foreign to every circumstance of it. The 
bishops have never been introduced before into any scene of 
Mr. Burke's drama : why then are they, all at once, and 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 29 

together, tout a coup et tons ensemble, introduced now ? Mr. 
Burke brings forward his bishops and his lantern, like 
figures in a magic lantern, and raises his scenes by contrast 
instead of connexion. But it serves to show with the rest of 
his book, what little credit ought to be given, where even 
probability is set at defiance, for the purpose of defaming ; 
and witli this reflection, instead of a soliloquy in praise 
of chivalry, as Mr. Burke has done, I close tne account 
of the expedition to Versailles.* 

I have now to follow Mr. Burke through a pathless wilder- 
ness of rhapsodies, and a sort of descant upon governments, 
in which he asserts whatever he pleases, on the presumption 
of its being believed, without offering either evidence or 
reasons foi so doing. 

Before any thing can be reasoned upon to a conclusion, 
certain facts, principles, or data, to reason from, must be 
established, admitted, or denied. Mr. Burke, with his usual 
outrage, abuses the declaration of the rights of man, pub- 
lished by the national assembly of France, as the basis on 
which the constitution of France is built. This he calls 
' paltry and blurred sheets of paper about the rights of man." 
Does Mr. Burke mean to deny that man has any rights ? It 
he does, then he must mean that there are no such things as 
rights any where, and that he has none himself ; for who is 
there in the world but man ? But if Mr. Burke means to 
*drnit that man has rights, the question then will be, 
what are those rights, and how came man by them origi- 
na^y. 

The error of those who reason by precedents drawn from 
antiquity, respecting the rights of man, is, that they do not 
go far enough into antiquity. They do not go the whole 
way. They stop in some of the intermediate stages ol an 
hundred or a thousand years, and produce what was then 
done as a rule for the present day. This is no authority at 
all. If we travel still further into antiquity, we shall find a 
directly contrary opinion and practice prevailing ; and, if 
antiquity is to be authority, a thousand such authorities 
may be produced, successively contradicting each other : but 
if we proceed on, we shall at last come out right : we shall 
come to the time when man came from the hand of his 
maker. What was he then ? Man. Man was his high and 

* An account of the expedition to Versailles may be seen in No. 18, of tb 
' Revolution de Paris,' containing the events from the 3d to the 10th of Got*- 
br, !*:. 



30 ROHTS OF MAN. 

on!} tit .e, and a higher cannot be given him. But of titles 
i shall speak hereafter. 

"We have now arrived at the origin of man, and at the 
origin of his rights. As to the manner in which the world 
has been governed from that day to this, it is no farther any 
concern of ours than to make a proper use of the errors or the 
improvements which the history of it presents. Those who 
lived an hundred or a thousand years ago, were then moderns 
as we are now. They had their ancients and those ancients 
had others, and we also sha'l be ancients in our turn. If 
the mere name of antiquity is to govern in the affairs of life, 
the people who are to live an hundred or a thousand years 
hence, may as well cake us for a precedent, as we make a 
precedent of those who lived an hundred or a thousand years 
ago. The fact is, that portions of antiquity, by proving 
every thing, establish nothing. It is authority against 
authority all the way, till we come to the divine origin of 
the rights of man, at the creation. Here our inquiries find 
a resting-place, and our reason finds a home. If a dispute 
about the rights of man had arisen at the distance of an 
hundred years from the creation, it is to this source of 
authority they must have referred, and it is to the same 
source of authority that we must now refer. 

Though I mean not to touch upon any sectarian principle 
of religion, yet it may be worth observing, that the gene- 
alogy of Christ is traced to Adam. Why then not trace the 
rights of man to the creation of man ? I will answer the 
question. Because there have been upstarts of govern- 
ment, thrusting themselves between, and presumptously 
working to un-make man. 

If any generation of men ever possessed the right of dic- 
tating the mode by which the world should be governed for 
ever, it was the nrst generation that existed ; and if that 
generation did not do it, nj succeeding generation can show 
any authority for doing it, nor set any up. The illuminat- 
ing and divine principles of the equal rights of man, (for it 
has its origin from the maker of man,) relates, not only to 
the living individuals, but to generations of men succeeding 
each other. Every generation is equal in rights to the gene- 
rations which preceded it, by the same rule that every in- 
dividual is born equal in rights with his contemporary. 

Every history of the creation, and every traditionary 
account, whether from the lettered or unlettered world, how- 
ever they may vary in their op nion or belief of certain par- 



BIGHTS OF MAN. SI 

ticulars, all agree in establishing one point, the unity of 
man / by which I mean that man is all of one degree, and 
consequently that all men are born equal, and with equal 
natural rights, in the same manner as if posterity had been 
continued oy creation instead of generation, the latter being; 
only the mode by which the former is carried forward ; ana 
consequently, every child born into the world must be 
considered as deriving its existence from God. The world is 
as new to him as it was to the first man that existed, and his 
natural right in it is of the same kind. 

The Mosaic account of the creation, whether taken as 
divine authority, or merely historical, is fully up to this 
point, the unity or equality of man. The expressions admit 
of no controversy. " And God said, let us make man in our 
own image. In the image of God created he him ; male 
and female created he them." The distinction of sexes is 
pointed out, but no other distinction is even implied. If 
this be not divine authority, it is at least historical authority, 
and shows that the equality of man, so far from being a 
modern doctrine, is the oldest upon record. 

It is also to be observed, that all the religions known in 
the world are founded, so far as they relate to man, on the 
unity of man, as being all of one degree. Whether in 
heaven or in hell, or in whatever state man may be sup- 
posed to exist hereafter, the good and the bad are the only 
distinctions. Nay, even the laws of governments are 
obliged to slide into this'principle, by making degrees to 
consist in crimes, and not in persons. 

It is one of the greatest of all truths, a^id of the highest 
advantage to cultivate. By considering man in this light, 
and by instructing him to consider himself in this light, 
it places him in a close connexion with all b is duties, whether 
to his Creator, or to the creation, of which he is a part ; and 
it is only when he forgets his origin, or to use a more fashion- 
able phrase, his birth and family, that he becomes dissolute. 
It is not among the least of the evils of the present existing 
governments in all parts of Europe, that man, considered as 
man, is thrown back to a vast distance from his maker, and 
the artificial chasm filled up by a succession of barriers, or a 
sort of turnpike gates, through which he has to pass. I will 
quote Mr. Burke's catalogue of barriers that he has set up 
between man and his Maker. Putting himself in the char- 
acter of a herald, he says " We fear God we look with 
to kings with affection to parliaments with duty to 



32 BIGHTS OF MAH. 

magistrates with reverence to priests, and with respect to 
nobility." Mr. Burke has forgot to put in " chivalry." He 
has also forgot to put in Peter. 

The duty of man is not a wilderness of turnpike gates, 
through which he is to pass by tickets from one to the other. 
It is plain and simple, and consists but of two points. His 
duty to God, which every man must feel ; and with respect 
to his neighbor, to do as he would be done by. If those to 
whom power is delegated do well, they will be respected ; if 
not they will be despised ; and with regard to those to whom 
no power is delegated, but who assume it, the rational world 
can know nothing of them. 

Hitherto we have spoken only (and that but in part) of 
the natural rights of man. We have now to consider the 
civil rights of man, and to show how the one originates out 
of the other. Man did not enter into society to become 
worse than he was before, nor to have less rights than he 
nad before, but to have those rights better secured. His 
natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights. But in 
order to pursue this distinction with more precision, it is neces- 
sary to mark the different qualities of natural and civil rights. 

A few words will explain this. Natural rights are those 
which always appertain to man in right of his existence. 
Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the 
mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual 
for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious 
to the rights of others. Civil rights are those which apper- 
tain to man in right of his being a member of society. 
Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right 
Dre-existing in the individual, but to which his individual 
power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this 
kind are all those which relate to security and protection. 

From this short review, it will be easy to distinguish be- 
tween that class of natural rights which man retains after 
entering into society, and those which he throws into common 
stock as a member of society. 

The natural rights which he retains, are all those in which 
the power to execute is as perfect in the individual as the 
right itself. Among this class, as is before mentioned, are 
all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind ; conse- 
nuently, religion is one of those rights. The natural rights 
*?hich are not retained, are all those in which, though the 
right is perfect in the individual, the power to execute them 
is defective. They answer not his purposes. A man by 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 33 

natural right, has a right to judge in his own cause ; and so 
far as the right of the mind is concerned, he never surren- 
ders it jut what availeth it him to judge, if he has not 
power to redress it ? He therefore deposits this right in the 
common stock of society, and takes the arm of society, of 
which he is a part, in preference and in addition to his own. 
Society grants him nothing. Every man is a proprietor in 
society, and draws on the capital as a matter of right. 

From these premises, two or three certain conclusions wil] 
follow. 

1st, that every civil right grows out of a natural right ; or, 
in other words, is a natural right exchanged. 

2d, That civil power properly considered as such, is made 
up of the aggregate of that class of the natural rights of 
man, which becomes defective in the individual in point of 
power, and answers not his purpose, but when collected to a 
focus, becomes competent to the purpose of every one. 

3d, That the power produced by the aggregate of natural 
rights, imperfect in power in the individual, cannot be ap- 
plied to invade the natural rights which are retained in tne 
individual, and in which the power to execute is as perfect 
as the right itself. 

We have, now, in a few words, traced man from a natural 
individual to a member of society, and shown, or endeavored 
to show, the quality of the natural rights retained, and of 
those which are exchanged for civil rights. Let us now 
apply those principles to government. 

In casting our eyes over the world, it is extremely easy to 
distinguish the governments which have arisen out of society, 
or out of the social compact, from those which have not : but 
to place this in a clearer light than a single glance may aiford, 
it will be proper to take a review of the several sources from 
which governments have arisen, and on which they have 
been founded. 

They may be all comprehended under three heads 1st, 
superstition ; 2d, power ; 3d, the common interests of society, 
and the common rights of man. 

The first was a government of priest-craft, the second of 
conquerors, and the third of reason. 

When a set of artful men pretended, through the medium 
of oracles, to hold intercourse with the deity, as familiarly 
as they now march up the back stairs in European courts, 
the world was completely under the goverrfment of super- 
stition. The oraclefl were consulted, and whatever tne' 



#4 RIGHTS OF MAN. 

were made to sa j, became the law ; and this sort of govern- 
ment lasted just as long as this sort of superstition lasted. 

After these a race of conquerors arose, whose government, 
like that of William the conqueror, was founded on power, 
and the sword assumed the name of a sceptre. Govern- 
ments thus established, last as long as the power to support 
them lasts ; but that they might avail themselves of every 
engine in their favor, they united fraud to force, and set up 
an idol which they called divine right, and which, in imita- 
tion of the pope who affects to be spiritual and temporal, 
and in contradiction to the founder of the Christian religion, 
twisted itself afterwards into an idol of another shape, 
called church and state. The key of St. Peter, and the 
key of the treasury, became quartered on one another, and 
the wondering, cheated multitude, worshipped the invention. 

When I contemplate the natural dignity of man : when I 
feel (for nature has not been kind enough to me to blunt my 
feelings) for the honor and happiness of its character, I be- 
come irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force 
and fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools, and can 
scarcely avoid feeling disgust for those who are thus im- 
posed upon. 

We have now to review the governments which arise out 
of society, in contradistinction to those which arose out of 
superstition and conquest. 

It has been thought a considerable advance towards estab- 
lishing the principles of freedom, to say, that government 
is a compact between those who govern and those who are 
governed : but this cannot be true, because it is putting the 
effect before the cause : for as man must have existed before 
governments existed, there necessarily was a time when 
governments did not exist, and consequently there could 
originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. 
The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, 
each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into 
a compact with each other, to produce a government : and 
this is the only mode in which governments have a right to 
be established ; and the only principle on which they have 
a right to exist. 

To possess ourselves of a clear idea of what government 
is, or ought to, be, we must trace it to its origin. In doing 
this, we shall easily discover that governments must hava 
arisen, either out of the people, or over the people. Mr. 
Burke lias made no distinction. He investigates nothing tc 



BIGHTS Of MAJf. 35 

its source, and therefore lie confounds every thing: hut he 
has signified his intention of undertaking at some future 
opportunity, a comparison between the constitutions of 
England and France. As he thus renders it a subject of 
controversy by throwing the gauntlet, I take him up on his 
own ground. It IB in high challenges that high truths have 
the light of appearing ; and I accept it with the more 
readiness, because it affords me, at the same time, an oppor- 
tunity of pursuing the subject with respect to governments 
arising out of society. 

But it will be first necessary to define what is meant by a 
constitution. It is not sufficient that we adopt the word ; 
we must fix also a standard signification to it. 

A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. 
It has not an ideal, but a real existence ; and wherever it 
cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A 
constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a 
government is only the creature of a constitution. The con- 
stitution of a country is not the act of its government, but 
of the people constituting a government. It is the body of 
elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by ar- 
ticle ; and contains the principles on which the government 
shall be established, the form in which it shall be organized, 
the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration 
of parliaments, or by whatever name such bodies may be 
called ; the powers which the executive part of the govern- 
ment shall have ; and, in fine, every thing that relates to the 
complete organization of a civil government, and the prin- 
ciple on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. 
A constitution, therefore is to a government, what the laws 
made afterwards by that government are to a court of judi- 
cature. The court of judicature does not make laws, neither 
can it alter them ; it only acts in conformity to the laws 
made ; and the government is in like manner governed by 
the constitution. 

Can then Mr. Burke produce the English constitution ? 
If he cannot, we may fairly conclude, that though it has 
been so much talked about, no such thing as a constitution 
exists, or ever did exist, and consequently the people have 
yet a constitution to form. 

Mr. Burke will not, I presume, deny the position I have 
already advanced ; namely, that governments arise either 
out of the people, or over the people. The English govern- 
ment is one of those which arose out of a conquest, and not 



36 RIGHTS >F MAN. 

out of society, and consequently it arose over the people : 
and though it has been much modified from the opportunity 
of circumstances, since the time of William the conqueror, 
the country has never yet regenerated itself, and it is there- 
fore without a constitution. 

I readily perceive the reason why Mr. Burke declined 
going into the comparison between the English and the 
French constitutions, because he could not but perceive, when 
lie sat down to the task, that no constitution was in exist- 
ence on his side of the question. His book is certainly 
bulky enough to have contained all he could say on this 
subject, and it would have been the best manner in which 
people could have judged of their separate merits. Why 
then has he declined the only thing that was worth while ta 
write upon ? It was the strongest ground he could take, if 
the advantages were on his side ; but the weakest if they 
were not ; and his declining to take it, is either a sign that 
he could not possess it, or could not maintain it. 

Mr. Burke has said in his speech last winter in parlia- 
ment, that when the national assembly of France first met 
in three orders, (the tiers etats, the clergy, and the noblesse) 
iliat France had then a good constitution. This shows, among 
Humorous other instances, that Mr. Burke does not under- 
stand what a constitution is. The persons so met, were not 
a constitution, but a convention to make a constitution. 

The present national assembly of France is, strictly speak- 
ing, the personal social compact. The members of it are the 
delegates of the nation in its original character ; future 
assemblies will be the delegates of the nation in its organized 
character. The authority of the present assembly is differ- 
ent to what the authority of future assemblies will be. The 
authority of the present one is to form a constitution : the 
authority of future assemblies will be to legislate according 
to the principles and forms prescribed in that constitution ; 
and if experience should hereafter show that alterations, 
amendments, or additions are necessary, the constitution will 
point out the mode by which such things shall be done, and 
not leave it to the discretionary power of the future govern- 
ment. 

A government on the principles on which constitutional 

governments, arising out of society, are established, cannot 
ave the right of altering itself. If it had, it would be arbi- 
trary. It might make itself what it pleased ; and wherever 
euch a right is set up, it shows that there is no constitution. 



BIGHTS OF MAJff. 37 

The act by which the English parliament empowered itself 
to sit for seven years, shows there is no constitution in Eng- 
land. It might, by the same self authority, have sat any 
greater number of years or for life. The bill which the 
present Mr. Pitt brought into parliament some years ago, 
to reform parliament, was on the same erroneous principle. 

The right of reform is in the nation in its original character, 
and the constitutional method would be by a general con- 
vention elected for the purpose. There is moreover a para- 
dox in the idea of vitiated bodies reforming themselves. 

From these preliminaries I proceed to draw some com- 
parisons. I have already spoken of the declaration of rights ; 
and as I mean to be as concise as possible, I shall proceed 
to other parts of the French constitution. 

The constitution of France says, that every man who pays 
a tax of sixty sous per annum (2s. and 6a. English) is an 
elector. What article will Mr. Burke place against this ? 
Can any thing be more limited, and at the same time more 
capricious, than what the qualifications of the electors are in 
England ? Limited because not one man in a hundred (I 
speak much within compass) is admitted to vote : capricious 
because the lowest character that can be supposed to exist, 
and who has not so much as the visible means of an honest 
livelihood, is an elector in some places ; while, in other 
places, the man who pays very large taxes, and with a fair 
known character, and the farmer who rents to the amount of 
three or four hundred pounds a year, and with a property on 
that farm to three or mur times that amount, is not admit- 
ted to be an elector. Every thing is out of nature, as Mr. 
Burke says on another occasion, in this strange chaos, and all 
sorts of follies are blended with all sorts of crimes. William 
the conqueror, and his descendants, parcelled out the country 
in this manner, and bribed one part of it by what they called 
charters, to hold the other parts of it the better subjected to 
their will. This is the reason why so many charters abound 
in Cornwall. The people were averse to the government 
established at the conquest, and the towns were garrisoned 
and bribed to enslave the country. All the old charters are 
the badges of this conquest, and it is from this source that 
the capriciousness of election arises. 

The French constitution says, that the number of represen- 
tatives for any place shall Toe in a ratio to the number of 
taxable inhabitants or electors. Wliat article will Mr. Burke 
place against this ? The county of Yorkshire , which con- 



88 BIGHTS OF MAN. 

tains near a million of souls, sends two county members ; 
and so does the county of Rutland, which contains not a 
hundredth part of that number. The town of old Sarum, 
which contains not three houses, sends two members ; and 
the town of Manchester, which contains upwards of sixty 
thousand souls, is not admitted to send any. Is there any 
principle in these things ? Is there any thing by which you 
can trace the marks of freedom or discover those of wisdom ? 
No wonder then Mr. Burke has declined the comparison, 
and endeavoured to lead his readers from the point, by a wild 
unsystematical display of paradoxical rhapsodies. 

The French constitution says, that the national assembly 
shall be elected every two years. What article will Mr. 
Burke place against this ? Why, that the nation has no 
right at all in the case : that the government is perfectly 
arbitrary with respect to this point ; and he can quote for 
his authority, the precedent of a former parliament. 

The French constitution says, there shall be no game 
laws ; that the farmer on whose lands wild game shall be 
found (for it is by the produce of those lands they are fed) 
shall have a right to what he can take. That there shall 
be no monopolies of any kind, that all trades shall be free, 
and every man free to follow any occupation by which he 
can procure an honest livelihood, and in any place, town, or 
city, throughout the nation. What will Mr. Burke say to 
this ? In England, game is made the property of those at 
whose expense it is not fed ; and with respect to monopolies, 
the country is cut up into monopolies. Every chartered 
town is an aristocratic monopoly in itself, and the qualifica- 
tion of electors proceeds out of those chartered monopolies. 
Is this freedom f Is this what Mr. Burke means by a con- 
stitution ? 

In these chartered monopolies a man coming from another 
part of the country, is hunted from them as if he were a 
foreign enemy. An Englishman is not free in his own coun- 
try : every one of those places presents a barrier in his way, 
and tells him he is not a freeman that he has no rights. 
Within these monopolies, are other monopolies. In a city, 
such for instance as Bath, which contains between twenty 
and thirty thousand inhabitants, the right of electing repre- 
sentatives to parliament is monopolized into about thirty-one 
persons. And within these monopolies are still others. A 
man, even of the same town, whose parents were not in cir- 
cumstances to give him an occupation, is debarred, in many 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 89 

cases, from the natural right of acquiring one, be his genhii 
or industry what it may. 

Are these things examples to hold out to a country regen- 
erating itself from slavery, like France ? Certainly they are 
not ; and certain am I, that when the people of England 
come to reflect upon them, they will, like France, annihilate 
those badges of ancient oppression, those traces of a con- 
quered nation. Had Mr. Burke possessed talents similar to 
the author " On the Wealth of J^ations," he would have 
comprehended all the parts which enter into, and, by assem- 
blage, form a constitution. He would have reasoned from 
minutiae to magnitude. It is not from his prejudices only, 
but from the disorderly cast of his genius, that he is unfitted 
for the subject he writes upon. Even his genius is without 
a constitution. It is a genius at random, and not a genius 
constituted. But he must say something He has therefore 
mounted in the air like a balloon, to draw the eyes of the 
multitude from the ground they stand upon. 

Much is to be learned from the French constitution. Con- 
quest and tyranny transplanted themselves with "William the 
conqueror, from Normandy into England, and the country 
is yet disfigured with the marks. May then the example of 
all France contribute to regenerate the freedom which a 
province of it destroyed ! 

The French constitution says, that to preserve the national 
representation from being corrupt, no member of the national 
assembly shall be an officer of government, a placeman or a 
penuioner. What will Mr. Burke place against this? I 
will whisper his answer : loaves and fishes. Ah ! this gov- 
ernmont of loaves and fishes has more mischief in it than 
people have yet reflected on. The national assembly ha? 
made the discovery, and holds out an example to the world. 
Had governments agreed to quarrel on purpose to fleece 
their countries by taxes, they could not have succeeded bet 
ter than they have done. 

Every thing in the English government appears to me the 
reverse of what it ought to be, and of what it is said to be- 
The parliament, imperfectly and capriciously elected as it 
is, is nevertheless supposed to hold the national purse in trust 
for the nation ; but in the manner in which an English par- 
liament is constructed, it is like a man being both mortgager 
and mortgagee : and in the case of misapplication of trust, 
it is the criminal sitting in judgment on himself. If those 
persons who vote the supplies are the same persons who re- 



40 BIGHTS OF MAN. 

ceive the supplies when voted, and are to account for the 
expenditure of those supplies to those who voted them, it ia 
themselves accountable to themselves, and the Comedy of 
Errors concludes with the pantomime of Hush. Neither 
the ministerial party, nor the opposition will touch upon 
this case. The national purse is the common hack which 
each mounts upon. It is like what the country people call, 
" Ride and tie You ride a little way and then I. They 
order these things better in France. 

The French constitution says, that the right of war and 
peace is in the nation. Where else should it reside, but in 
those who are to pay the expense ? 

In England the right is said to reside in a metaphor, 
shown at the tower for sixpence or a shilling a-piece ; so are 
the lions ; and it would be a step nearer to reason to say 
it resided in them, for any inanimate metaphor is no more 
than a hat or a cap. We can all see the absurdity of wor- 
shipping Aaron's molten calf, or Nebuchadnezzar's golden 
image ; but why do men continue to practise on themselves 
the absurdities they despise in others? 

It may with reason be said, that in the manner the Englisl 
nation is represented, it matters not where this right resides, 
whether in the crown or in the parliament. War is the 
common harvest of all those who participate in the division 
and expenditure of public money, in all countries. It is the 
art of conquering at home: the object of it is an increase 
of revenue : and as revenue cannot be increased without 
taxes, a pretence must be made for expenditures. In re- 
viewing the history of the English government, its wars and 
taxes, an observer, not blinded by prejudice, nor warped by 
interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry 
on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes. 

Mr. Burke, as a member of the house of commons, is a 
part of the English government ; and though he professes 
himself an enemy to war, he abuses the French constitution, 
which seeks to explode it. He holds up the English govern- 
ment as a model in all its parts, to France ; but he should 
first know the remarks which the French make upon it. 
They contend, in favor of their own, that the portion of lib 
erty enjoyed in England, is just enough to enslave a coun- 
try by, more productively than by despotism ; and that as 
the real object of a despotism is revenue, a government so 
formed obtains more than it could either by direct despotism 
JIT in a full state of freedom, and is, therefore, on the ground 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 41 

of interest, opposed to both. They account also for the 
readiness which always appears in such governments for en- 
gaging in wars, by remarking on the different motives which 
produce them. In despotic governments, wars are the effects 
of pride ; but in those governments in which they become 
the means of taxation, they acquire thereby a more perma- 
nent promptitude. 

The French constitution, therefore, to provide against both 
those evils, has taken away from kings and ministers the 
power of declaring war, and placed the right where the ex- 
pense must fall. 

When the question on the right of war and peace was 
agitating in the national assembly, the people of England 
appeared to be much interested in the event, and highly to 
applaud the decision. As a principle, it applies as mucn to 
one country as to another. WilKam the conqueror, as a 
conqueror, held this power of war and peace in himself, and 
his descendants have ever since claimed it as a right. 

Although Mr. Burke has asserted the right of the parlia- 
ment at the revolution to bind and control the nation and 
posterity for ever, he denies at the same time, that the par- 
liament or the nation has any right to alter, what he calls, 
the succession of the crown, in any thing but in part, or by 
a sort of modification. By his taking this ground, he throws 
the case back to the Norman conquest : and by thus running 
a line of succession, springing from William the conqueror 
to the present day, he makes it necessary to inquire who and 
what W illiam the conqueror was, and where he came from : 
and into the origin, history and nature of what are called 
prerogatives. Every thing must have had a beginning, and 
the fog of time and of antiquity should be penetrated to 
discover it. Let then Mr. Burke bring forward his William 
of Normandy, for it is to this origin that his argument goes. 
It also unfortunately happens in running this line of suc- 
cession, that another line, parallel thereto, presents itself, 
which is, that if the succession runs in a line of the con- 
quest, the nation runs in a line of being conquered, and it 
ought to rescue itself from this reproach. 

But it will perhaps be said, that though the power of de- 
claring war descends into the heritage of the conquest, it is 
held in check by the right of the parliament to withhold the 
supplies. It will always happen, when a thing is originally 
wrong, that amendments do not make it right, ana often 
happens that they do as much mischief one way as good 



42 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

the other ; and *'ich is the case here, for if the one rashly de* 
clares war as a matter of right, and the other peremptorily 
withholds the supplies as a matter of right, the remedy be- 
comes as bad or worse than the disease. The one forces the 
nation to a combat, and the other ties its hands ; but the 
more probable issue is, that the contrast will end in a collu- 
sion between the parties, and be made a screen to both. 

On this question of war, three things are to be considered ; 
1st, the right of declaring it ; 2d, the expense of supporting 
it ; 3d, the mode of conducting it after it is declared. The 
French constitution places the right where the expense must 
fall, and this union can be only in the nation. The mode 
of conducting it, after it is declared, it consigns to the exe- 
cutive department. Were this the case in all countries, we 
should hear but little more of wars. 

Before I proceed to consider other parts of the French 
constitution, and by way of relieving the fatigue of 
argument, I will introduce an anecdote which I had from 
Dr. Franklin. 

While the doctor resided in France, as Minister from 
America, during the war, he had numerous proposals made 
to him by projectors of every country and of every kind, 
who wished to go to the land that floweth with milk and 
honey, America, and among the rest, there was one who 
offered himself to be king. He introduced his proposal to 
the doctor by letter, which is now in the hands of M. Beau- 
marchais, of Paris stating, first, that as the Americans had 
dismissed or sent away their kingr, they would want another. 
Secondly, that himself was a Norman. Thirdly, that he 
was of a more ancient family than the dukes of Normandy, 
and of a more honorable descent, his line never having been 
bastardized. Fourthly, that there was already a precedent 
in England, of kings coming out of Normandy ; and on 
these grounds he rested his offer, enjoining that the doctor 
would forward it to America. But as the doctor did not do 
this, nor yet send him an answer, the projector wrote a 
second letter ; in which he did not, it is true, threaten to go 
over and conquer America, but only, with great dignity, 
proposed, that if his offer was not accepted, that an acknow- 
ledgment of about 30,OOOZ. might be made to him for hia 
generosity ! Now, as all arguments respecting succession 
must necessarily connect that succession with some begin- 
ning, Mr. Burke's arguments on this subject go to show, that 
there is no English origin of kings, and that they are de- 



MGIIT8 OF MAN. 43 

scendants of the Norman line in right of the conquest. It 
may, therefore, be of service to his doctrine to make the 
Btory known, and to inform him, that in case of that natural 
extinction to which all mortality is subject, kings may again 
be had from Normandy, on more reasonable terms tnan 
William the conqueror ; and, consequently, that the good 

Seople of England, at the revolution of 1688, might have 
one much better, had such a generous Norman as this 
known their wants, and they his. The chivalric character 
which Mr. Burke so much admires, is certainly much easier 
to make a bargain with than a hard dealing Dutchman. But 
to return to the matters of the constitution 

The French constitution says, there shall be no titles ; and 
of consequence, all that class of equivocal generation, which 
in some countries is called " aristocracy" and in others 
" nobility" is done away, and the peer is exalted into the 
man. 

Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title. 
The thing is perfectly harmless in itself, but it marks a sort 
of foppery in the human character which degrades it. It 
renders man diminutive in things which are great, and the 
counterfeit of woman in things which are little. It talks 
about its fine riband like a girl, and shows its garter like a 
child. A certain writer, of some antiquity, says, " When I 
was a child, I thought as a child ; but when I became a man, 
I put away childish things." 

It is, properly, from the elevated mind of France, that the 
folly of titles Las been abolished. It has out-grown the 
baby-clothes of count and duke, and breeched itself in man- 
hood. France has not levelled, it has exalted. It has put 
down the dwarf to set up the man. The insignificance of a 
senseless word like duke, count, or earl, has ceased to please. 
Even those who possessed them have disowned the gibber- 
ish, and, as they outgrew the rickets, have despised the 
rattle. The genuine mind of man, thirsting for its native 
home, society, contemns the gew-gaws that separate him 
from it. Titles are like circles drawn by the magician's 
wand, to contract the sphere of man's felicity. He lives 
immured within the Bastile of a word, and surveys at a dis- 
tance the envied life of man. 

Is it then any wonder that titles should fall in France ? 
Is it not a greater wonder they should be kept up any where I 
What are they? What is their worth, nay " what is their 
amount ?" When we think or speak of a judge, or a 



EIGHTS OF MAN. 

ral, we associate with it the ideas of office and character ; 
we think of gravity in the one, and bravery in the other ; 
but when we use a word merely as a title, no ideas associate 
with it. Through all the vocabulary of Adam, there is not 
such an animal as a duke or a count ; neither can we con- 
nect any certain idea to the words. Whether they mean 
strength or weakness, wisdom or folly, a child or a man, or 
a rider or a horse, is all equivocal. What respect then can 
be paid to that which describes nothing, and which means 
nothing? Imagination has given figure and character to 
centaurs, satyrs, and down to all the fairy tribe ; but titles 
baffle even the powers of fancy, and are a chimerical non- 
descript. 

But this is not all If a whole country is disposed to hold 
them in contempt, all their value is gone, and none will own 
them. It is common opinion only that makes them any 
thing or nothing, or worse than nothing. There is no occa- 
sion to take titles away, for they take themselves away when 
society concurs to ridicule them. This species of imaginary 
consequence has visibly declined in every part of Europe, 
and it hastens to its exit as the world of reason continues tc 
rise. There was a time when the lowest class of what are 
called nobility, was more thought of than the highest is 
now, and when a man in armor riding through Christendom 
in search of adventures was more stared at than a modern 
duke. The world has seen this folly fall, and it has fallen 
by being laughed at, and the farce of titles will follow its 
fate. The patriots of France have discovered in good time, 
that rank and dignity in society must take a new ground. 
The old one has fallen through. It must now take the sub- 
stantial ground of character, instead of the chimerical ground 
of titles : and they have brought their titles to the altar, and 
made of them a burnt-offering to reason. 

If no mischief has annexed itself to the folly of titles, they 
would not have been worth a serious and formal destruction, 
such as the national assembly have decreed them : and this 
makes it necessary to inquire further into the nature and 
character of aristocracy. 

That, then, which is called aristocracy in some countries, 
and nobility in others, arose out of the governments founded 
upon conquest. It was originally a military order, for thft 
purpose 01 supporting military government ; (for such were 
all governments founded in conquests) and to keep up a 
*uccession of this order for the purpose for which it waa 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 46 

established, all the younger branches of those families were 
disinherited, and the law of primogenitureship set up. 

The nature and character of aristocracy shows itself to us 
in this law. It is a law against every law of nature, and 
nature herself calls for its destruction. Establish family 
justice and aristocracy falls. By the aristocratical law of 
primogenitureship, in a family of six children, five are ex- 
posed. Aristocracy has never but one child. The rest are 
begotten to be devoured. They are thrown to the cannibal 
for prey, and the natural parent prepares the unnatural 
repast. 

As every thing which is out of nature in man, affects, 
more or less, the interest of society, so does this. All the 
children which the aristocracy disowns (which are all, except 
the eldest) are, in general, cast like orphans on a parish, to 
be provided for by the public, but at a greater charge. Un- 
mecessary offices and places in governments and courts are 
created at the expense of the public to maintain them. 

With what kind of parental reflections can the father or 
mother contemplate their younger offspring. By nature 
they are children, and by marriage they are heirs ; but by 
aristocracy they are bastards and orphans. They are the 
flesh and blood of their parents in one line, and nothing akin 
to them in the other. To restore, therefore, parents to their 
children, and children to their parents relations to each 
other, and man to society and to exterminate the monster 
aristocracy, root and branch the French constitution has 
destroyed the law of primogenitureship.. Here then lies the 
monster, and Mr. Burke, if he pleases, may write its epitaph. 

Hitherto we have considered aristocracy chiefly in one 
point of view. We have now to consider it in another. 
But whether we view it before or behind, or side ways, or 
any way else, domestically or publicly, it is still a monster. 

In France, aristocracy had one feature less in its coun- 
tenance than what it has in some other countries. It did 
not compose a body of hereditary legisl ators. It was not " a 
corporation of aristocracy" for such 1 have heard M. de la 
Fayette describe an English house of peers. Let us then 
examine the grounds upon which the French constitution 
has resolved against having such a house in France. 

Because, in the first place, as is already mentioned, aris- 
tocracy is kept up by family tyranny and injustice. 

2nd, Because there is an unnatural unfitness in an aris- 
tocracy to be legislators for a nation. Their ideas of distri- 



46 EIGHTS OB MAN. 

butwe justice are corrupted at the very source. They Degin 
life trampling on all their younger brothers and sisters, and 
relations of every kind, and are taught and educated so to 
do. With what ideas of justice or honor can that man 
enter a house of legislation, who absorbs in his own person 
the inheritance of a whole family of children, or metes out 
some pitiful portion with the insolence of a gift ? 

3d, Because the idea of hereditary legislators is as incon- 
sistent as that of hereditary judges, or hereditary juries ; and 
as absurd as an hereditary mathematician, or an hereditary 
wise man ; and as ridiculous as an hereditary poet-laureat. 

4th, Because a body of men, holding themselves account- 
able to nobody, ought not to be trusted by any body. 

5th, Because it is continuing the uncivilized principle of 
governments founded in conquest, and the base idea of 
man having property in man, and governing him by per- 
sonal right. 

6th, Because aristocracy has a tendency to degenerate the 
human species. By the universal economy of nature it is 
known, and by the instance of the Jews it is proved, that 
the human species has a tendency to degenerate, in any 
small number of persons, when separated from the general 
stock of society, and intermarrying constantly with each 
other. It defeats even its pretended end, and becomes in 
time the opposite of what is noble in man. Mr. Burke talks 
of nobility ; let him show what it is. The greatest charac- 
ters the world has known, have rose on the democratic floor. 
Aristocracy has not been able to keep a proportionate pace 
with democracy. The artificial noble shrinks into a dwarf 
before the noble of nature ; and in a few instances (for there 
are some in all countries) in whom nature, as by a miracle, 
has survived in aristocracy, those men despise it. But it is 
time to proceed to a new subject. 

The French constitution has reformed the condition of the 
clergy. It has raised the income of the lower and middle 
classes, and taken from the higher. None are now less than 
twelve hundred livres, (fifty pounds sterling) nor any highei 
than two or three thousana pounds. What will Mr. Burke 
place against this ? Hear what he says. 

He says, that " the people of England can see, without 
pain or grudging, an archbishop precede a duke ; they can 
see a bishop of Durham, or a bishop of Winchester in posses- 
sion of 10,OOOZ. a-year ; and cannot see why it is in worse 
hands than estates to the like amount in the hands of tbi* 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 47 

eari or that 'squire." And Mr. Burke offers this as an ex> 
ample to France. 

As to the first part, whether the archbishop precedes the 
duke, or the duke the bishop, it is, I believe, to the people 
in general, somewhat like Stemhold and Hopkins, or Hop- 
kins and Stemhold / you may put which you please first : 
and as I confess that I do not understand the merits of 
this case, I will not contend it with Mr. Burke. 

But with respect to the latter, I have something to say. 
Mr. Burke has not put the case right. The comparison is 
out of order by being put between the bishop and the earl, or 
the 'squire. It ought to be put between the bishop and the 
curate, and then it will stand thus : the people of England 
can see without grudging or pain, a bishop of Durham or a, 
bishop of Winchester, in possession of ten thousand pounds 
a-year, and a curate on thirty or forty pounds a-year, or less. 
No, sir, they certainly do not see these things without great 
pain and grudging. It is a case that applies itself to every 
man's sense of justice, and is one among many that calls 
aloud for a constitution. 

In France, the cry of " the church ! the church /" was 
repeated as often as in Mr. Burke's book, and as loudly as 
when the dissenters' bill was before parliament ; but the 
generality of the French clergy were not to be deceived by 
this cry any longer. They knew that whatever the pretence 
might be, it was themselves who were one of the principal 
objects of it. It was the cry of the high beneficed clergy, to 
prevent any regulation of income taking place between those 
of ten thousand pounds a-year and the parish priest. They, 
therefore, joined their case to those of every other oppressed 
class of men, and by this union obtained redress. 

The French constitution has abolished tithes, that source 
of perpetual discontent between the tithe-holder and the 
parishioner. When land is held on tithe, it is in the condi- 
tion of an estate held between two parties ; one receiving 
one tenth, and the other nine tenths of the produce ; ana, 
consequently, on principles of equity, if the estate can be 
improved, and made to produce by that improvement double 
or treble what it did before, or in any other ratio, the expense 
of such improvement ought to be borne in like proportion 
between the parties who are to share the produce. But thie 
is not the case in tithes ; the farmer bears the whole expense, 
and the tithe-holder takes a tenth of the improvement, in 
addition to the original tenth, and by this means crets the 



4:8 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

value of two tenths instead of one. This is another case 
that calls for a constitution. 

The French constitution hath abolished or renounced 
toleration, and i/ntoleratwn also, and hath established wni^ 
versal right of conscience. 

Toleration is not the opposite of intoleration, but is the 
counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes 
to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, and 
the other of granting it. The one is the pope, armed with 
fire and fagot, and the other is the pope selling or granting 
indulgences. The former is church and state, and the latter 
is church and traffic. 

But toleration may be viewed in a much stronger light. 
Man worships not himself, but his maker : and the liberty 
of conscience which he claims, is not for the service of him- 
self, but of his God. In this case, therefore, we must neces- 
sarily have the associated idea of two beings ; the mortal 
who renders the worship, and the immortal being who is 
worshipped. Toleration, therefore, places itself not between 
man and man, nor between church and church, nor between 
one denomination of religion and another, but between God 
and man : between the being who worships, and the being 
who is worshipped ; and by the same act of assumed autho- 
rity by which it tolerates man to pay his worship, it pre- 
sumptuously and blasphemously sets up itself to tolerate 
the Almighty to receive it. 

"Were a bill brought into parliament, entitled, " An act to 
tolerate or grant liberty to the Almighty to receive the 
worship of a Jew or a T^urk," or " to prohibit the Almighty 
from receiving it," all men would startle, and call it blas- 
phemy. There would be an uproar. The presumption of 
toleration in religious matters would then, present itself 
unasked ; but the presumption is not the less because the 
name of " man " only appears to those laws, for the associ- 
ated idea of the worshipper and the worshipped cannot be 
separated. "Who, then, art thou, vain dust and ashes ! by 
-whatever name thou art called, whether a king, a bishop, a 
church or a state, a .parliament or any thing else, that 
obtrudest thine insignificance between the soul of man and 
his Jiaker ? Mind thine own concerns. If he believest not 
as chou believest, it is a proof that thou believest not as he 
believeth, and there is no earthly power can determine 
between you. 

"With respect to what are called denominations of religion. 



RIGHTS OF MAH. 49 

if every one is left to judgre of his own religion, there is no 
inch thing as a religion tnat is wrong ; but if they are to 
judge of each other s religion, there is no such thing as a 
religion that is right ; and therefore all the world is right, 
or all the world is wrong. But with respect to religion 
itself, without regard to names, and as directing itself from 
the universal family of mankind to the divine object of all 
adoration, it is man bringing to his maker the fruits of 
his heart; and though these fruits may differ from each 
other like the fruits of the earth, the grateful tribute of 
every one is accepted. 

A bishop of Durham, or a bishop of Winchester, or the 
archbishop who heads the dukes, will not refuse a tithe-sheaf 
of wheat, because it is not a cock of hay ; nor a cock of 
hay, because it is not a sheaf of wheat ; nor a pig because 
't is neither the one nor the other : but these same persons, 
under the figure of an established church, will not permit 
their maker to receive the varied tithes of man's devotion. 

One of the continual choruses of Mr. Burke's book, is 
' church and state ;" he does not mean some one particular 
church, or some one particular state, but any church and 
state ; and he uses the term as a general figure to hold forth 
the political doctrine of always uniting the church with the 
state in every country, and he censures the national assem- 
bly for not having done this in France. Let us bestow a fe\* 
thoughts on this subject. 

Alt religions are, in their nature, mild and benign, and 
united wim principles of morality. They could not have 
made proselytes at first, by professing any thing that was 
vicious, cruel, persecuting or immoral. Like every thing 
else, they had their beginning ; and they proceeded by per- 
suasion, exhortation, and example. How then is it that 
they lose their native mildness, and become morose and 
intolerant ? 

It proceeds from the connexion which Mr. Burke recom- 
mends. By engendering the church with the state, a sort 
of mule animal, capable only of destroying, and not of 
breeding up, is produced, called, the church established Jj 
law. It is a stranger, even from its birth, to any parent 
mother on which it is begotten, and whom in time it kicka 
out and destroys. 

The inquisition in Spain does not proceed from the reli- 
gion originally professed, but from this mule animal, engen- 
dered between th* church and the state. The burnings i 



00 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

Smithfield proceeded from the same heterogeneous produc- 
tion ; and it was the regeneration of this strange animal iii 
England afterwards, that renewed rancor and irreligion 
among the inhabitants, and that drove the people called 
Quakers and Dissenters to America. Persecution is not an 
original feature in any religion ; but it is always the strongly 
marked feature of all law-religions, or religions established 
by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every reli- 
gion re-assumes its original benignity. In America, a catho- 
lic priest is a good citizen, a good character, and a good 
neighbor ; an episcopalian minister is of the same descrip- 
tion : and this proceeds independent of men, from there 
being no law-establishment in America. 

If also we view this matter in a temporal sense, we shall 
see the ill effects it has had on the prosperity of nations. 
The union of church and state has impoverished Spain. 
The revoking the edict of Nantz drove the silk manufacture 
from that country into England ; and church and state are 
now driving the cotton manufacture from England to A me- 
rica and France. Let then Mr. Burke continue to preach 
his anti-political doctrine of church and state. It will do 
some good. The national assembly will not follow his ad- 
vice, but will benefit by his folly. It was by observing the 
ill eifects of it in England, that America has been warned 
against it ; and it is by experiencing them in France, that 
the national assembly have abolished it, and, like America, 
has established universal right of conscience, and universal 
right of citizenship* 

* When in any country we see extraordinary circumstances taking place, 
they naturally lead any man who has a talent for observation and investigation, 
to inquire into the causes. The manufacturers of Manchester, Birmingham, 
and Sheffield, are the principal manufacturers in England. From whence did 
this arise ? A little observation will explain the case. The principal, and the 
generality of the inhabitants of those places, are not of what is called in Eng- 
land, the church established by law : and they, or their fathers (for it is within 
but a few years) withdrew from the persecution of the chartered towns, where 
test-laws more particularly operate, and established a sort of asylum for them- 
selves in those places. It was the only asylum then offered, for the rest of 
Europe was worse. But the case is now changing. France and America bid 
all comers welcome, and initiate them into all the rights of citizenship. Policy 
and interest, therefore, will, but perhaps too late, dictate in England what rea- 
son and justice could not. Those manufacturers are withdrawing to other 
places. There is now erecting in Passey, three miles from Paris, a large cotton 
manufactory, and several are already erected in America. Soon after the reject- 
ing the bill for repealing the test-law, one of the richest manufacturers in Eng- 
land said in my hearing, "England, sir, is not a country for a Dissenter to live 
in. we must gro to France." These are truths, ami it. i- doing justice to both 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 51 

I will here cease the comparison with respect to the prin- 
ciples of the French constitution, and conclude this part of 
the subject with a few observations on the organization of the 
formal parts of the French and English governments. 

The executive power in each country is in the hands of a 
person styled the King ; but the French constitution distin- 
guishes between the king and the sovereign : it considers 
Sie station of king as official, and places sovereignty in the 
nation. 

The representatives of the nation, which compose the na- 
tional assembly, and who are the legislative power, originate 
in and from the people by election, as an innerent right in 
the people. In England it is otherwise; and this arises 
from the original establishment of what is called its monar- 
chy ; for as by the conquest all the rights of the people or 
the nation were absorbed into the hands of the conqueror, 
and who added the title of king to that of conqueror, those 
same matters which in France are now held as rights in the 
oeople, or in the nation, are held in England as grants from 
what is called the crown. The parliament in England, in 
both its branches, was erected by patents from the descend- 
ants of the conqueror. The house of commons did not origi- 
nate as a matter of right in the people, to delegate or elect, 
but as a grant or boon. 

By the French constitution, the nation is always named 
before the king. The third article of the declaration of 
rights says, "The nation is essentially the source (or foun- 
tain) of all sovereignty" Mr. Burke argues, that, in Eng- 
land, a king is the fountain that he is the fountain of all 
honor. But as this idea is evidently descended from the con- 
quest, I shall make no other remark upon it than that it is 
the nature of conquest to turn every thing upside down ; 
and as Mr. Burke will not be refused the privilege of speak- 
in twice, and as there are but two parts in the figure, the 

parties to tell them. It is chiefly the Dissenters that have carried English 
manufactures to the height they are now at, and the same men have it in theii 
power to carry them away ; and though those manufacturers would afterwards 
continue in those places, the foreign market will be lost. There frequently ap- 
pears in the London Gazette, extracts from certain acts to prevent machines, 
and as far as it can extend to persons, from going out of the country. It ap- 
pears from these that the ill effects of the test-laws and church-establishment 
begin to be much suspected ; but the remedy of force can never supply the 
remedy of reason. In the progress of less than a century, all the unrepresented 
part of England, of all denominations which is at least an hundred times the 
most numerous, may begin to feel the necessity of a constitution, and then aU 
matters will come regularly before them. 



DZ BIGHTS OF MAN. 

fountain and the spout, he will be right the second 
time. 

The French constitution puts the legislative before the 
executive ; the law before the king ; la loi, le roi. This also 
is in the natural order of things ; because laws must have 
existence, before they can have execution. 

A king in France does not, in addressing himself to the 
national assembly, say, " my assembly," similar to the phrase 
used in England of " my parliament ;" neither can he use it 
consistent with the constitution, nor could it be admitted.. 
There may be propriety in the use of it in England, because, 
as is before mentioned, both houses of parliament originated 
out of what is called the crown, by patent or boon and not 
out of the inherent rights of the people, as the national 
assembly does in France, and whose name designates its 
origin. 

The president of the national assembly does not ask the 
king to grant to the assembly the liberty of speech, as is the 
case with the English house of commons. The constitutional 
dignity of the national assembly cannot debase itself. Speech 
is> in the first place, one of the natural rights of man, always 
retained ; and with respect to the national assembly, the use 
of it is their duty, and the nation is their authority. They 
were elected by the greatest body of men exercising the 
right of election the European world ever saw. They 
sprung not from the filth of rotten boroughs, nor are they 
vassal representatives of aristocratical ones. Feeling the 
proper dignity of their character, they support it. Their 
parliamentary language, whether for or against a question, 
is free, bold, and manly, and extends to all the parts and 
circumstances of the case. If any matter or subject respect- 
ing the executive department, or the person who presides in 
it (the king,) comes before them, it is debated on with the 
spirit of men, and the language of gentlemen; and their 
answer, or their address, is returned in the same style. 
They stand not aloft with the gaping vacuity of vulgar 
ignorance, nor bend with the cringe of sycophantic insignifi- 
cance. The graceful pride of truth knows no extremes, and 
preserves in every latitude of life the right-angled character 
of man. 

Let us now look to the other side of the question. In the 
addresses of the English parliaments to their kings, we see 
neither the intrepid spirit of the old parliaments of France, 
nor the serene dignity of the present national assembly; 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 53 

neither do we see in them any thing of the style of English 
manners, which borders somewhat on bluntness. Since then 
they are neither of foreign extraction, nor naturally of Eng- 
lish production, their origin must be sought for elsewhere, 
and that origin is the Norman conquest. They are evidently 
of the vassalage class of manners, and emphatically mart 
the prostrate distance that exists in no other condition of 
men than between the conqueror and the conquered. That 
this vassalage idea and style of speaking was not got rid of, 
even at the revolution of 1688, is evident from the declara- 
tion of parliament to William and Mary, in these words : 
" we do most humbly and faithfully submit ourselves, our 
heirs and posterity for ever." Submission is wholly a vas- 
salage term, repugnant to the dignity of freedom, and an 
echo of the language used at the conquest. 

As the estimation of all things is by comparison, the revo- 
jution of 1688, however from circumstances it may have 
oeen exalted above its value, will find its level. It is already 
on the wane, eclipsed by the enlarging orb of reason, and 
the revolutions of America and France. In less than another 
century, it will go, as well as Mr. Burke's labors, " to the 
family vault of all the Capulets." Mankind will then 
scarcely believe that a country calling itself free, would send 
to Holland for a man, and clothe him with power, on pur 
pose to put themselves in fear of him, and give him almost 
a million sterling a-year for leave to submit themselves and 
their posterity, like "bondmen and bondwomen for ever. 

But there is a truth that ought to be made known ; I 
have had the opportunity of seeing it : which is, that not- 
withstanding appearances, there is not any description of 
men that despise monarchy so much as courtiers. But they 
well know, that if it were seen by others, as it is seen by 
them, the juggle could not be kept up. They are in the 
condition of men who get their living by show, and to whom 
the folly of that show is so familiar that they ridicule it ; 
but were the audience to be made 9-s wise, in this respect, 
as themselves, there would be an end to the show and the 
profits with it. The difference between a republican and a 
courtier with respect to monarchy, is, that the one opposes 
monarchy believing it to be something, and the other laughs 
at it knowing it to be nothing. 

As I used sometimes to correspond with Mr. Burke, be- 
lieving him then to be a man of sounder principle* than his 
hook snows him to be. 1 wrote to him last winter from Paris, 



KIGHTS OF MAJT. 



and gave him an account how prosperously matters were 
going on. Among other subjects in that letter, I referred 
to the happy situation the national assembly were placed 
in ; that they had taken a ground on which their moral 
duty and their political interest were united. They have 
not to hold out a language which they do not believe, for 
the fraudulent purpose of making others believe it. Their 
station requires no artifice to support it, and can only be 
maintained by enlightening mankind. It is not their in- 
terest to cherish ignorance, but to dispel it. They are not 
in the case of a ministerial or an opposition party in Eng- 
land, who, though they are opposed, are still united to keep 
up the common mystery. The national assembly must 
throw open a magazine of light. It must show man the 
proper character of man ; and the nearer it can bring him 
to that standard, the stronger the national assembly be- 
comes. 

In contemplating the French constitution, we see in it 
a rational order of things. The principles harmonize with 
the forms, and both with their origin. It may perhaps be 
said as an excuse for bad forms, tliat they are nothing more 
than forms ; but this is a mistake. Forms grow out of 
principles, and operate to continue the principles they grow 
from. It is impossible to practise a bad form on any tiling 
but a bad principle. It cannot be engrafted on a good one ; 
and wherever the forms in any government are bad, it is a 
certain indication that the principles are bad also. 

I will here finally close this subject. I began it by re- 
marking that Mr. Burke had .voluntarily declined going 
into a comparison of the English and French constitutions. 
He apologized (p. 241) for not doing it, by saying that he 
had not time. Mr. Burke's book was upwards of eight 
months in hand, and it extended to a volume of three hun- 
dred and fifty-six pages. As his omission does injury to his 
cause, his apology makes it worse ; and men on the English 
side of the water will begin to consider, whether there is not 
some radical defect in what is called the English constitu- 
tion, that made it necessary in Mr. Burke to suppress the 
comparison, to avoid bringing it into view. 

As Mr. Burke has not written on constitutions, so neither 
has he written on the French revolution. He gives no ac- 
count of its commencement or its progress. He only ex- 
presses his wonder. " It looks," says he, " to me as if I 
were in a great crisis, not of the affairs of France alone, but 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 55 

of all Europe, perhaps of more than Europe. All circum- 
stances taken together, the French revolution is the most 
astonishing that has hitherto happened in the world." 

As wise men are astonished at foolish things, and other 
people at wise ones, I know not on which ground to account 
tor Mr. Burke's astonishment ; but certain it is that he does 
not understand the French revolution. It has apparently 
burst forth like a creation from a chaos, but it is no more 
than the consequences of mental revolution previously exist- 
ing in France. The mind of the nation had changed before- 
hand, and a new order of things has naturally followed a 
new order of thoughts. I will here, as concisely as I 
can, trace out the growth of the French revolution, and 
mark the circumstances that have contributed to produce 
it. 

The despotism of Louis the XIV. united with the gaiety 
of his court, and the gaudy ostentation of his character, had 
so humbled, and at the same time so fascinated the mind of 
France, that the people appear to have lost all sense of their 
own dignity, in contemplating that of their grand monarch ; 
and the whole reign of Louis XY. remarkable only for 
weakness and effeminacy, made no other alteration than 
that of spreading a sort of lethargy over the nation, from 
which it snowed no disposition to rise. 

The only signs which appeared of the spirit of liberty 
during those periods, are to be found in the writings of the 
French philosophers. Montesquieu, president of the parlia- 
ment of ^Bordeaux, went as far as a writer under a despotic 
government could well proceed : and being obliged to divide 
himself between principle and prudence, his mind often ap- 
pears under a veil, and we ought to give him credit for 
more than he has expressed. 

Voltaire, who was both the flatterer and satirist of des- 
potism, took another line. His forte lay in exposing and 
ridiculing the superstitions which priest-craft, united with 
state-craft, had interwoven with governments. It was not 
from the purity of his principles, or his love of mankind, (for 
satire and philanthropy are not naturallv concordant,) but 
from his strong capacity of seeing fol y in its true shape, and 
his irresistible propensity to expose it, that he made those 
attacks. They were however as form idable as if the motives 
had been virtuous ; and he merits the thanks rather than 
the esteem of mankind. 

On the contrary, wo find in the writings of Rousseau and 



56 RIGHTS OF 

abbe Raynal, a loveliness of sentiment in favor of liberty, 
that excites respect, and elevates the human faculties ; yet 
having raised this animation, they do not direct its opera- 
tions, but leave the mind in love with an object, without 
describing the means of possessing it. 

The writings of Quisne, Turgot, and the friends of those 
authors, are of a serious kind ; but thev labored under the 
same disadvantage with Montesquieu ; tneir writings abound 
with moral maxims of government, but are rather directed 
to economise and reform the administration of the govern- 
ment, than the government itself. 

But all those writings and many others had their weight ; 
and by the different manner in which they treated the sub- 
ject of government, Montesquieu by his judgment and 
knowledge of laws: Yoltaire by his wit; Rousseau and 
Raynal by their animation, and Quisne and Turgot by their 
moral znaxims and systems of economy, readers of every 
class met with something to their taste, and a spirit of politi- 
cal inquiry began to diffuse itself through the nation at the 
time the dispute between England and the then colonies of 
America broke out. 

In the war which France afterwards engaged in, it is very 
well known that the nation appeared to be beforehand with 
the French ministry. Each of them had its views ; but those 
views were directed to different olyjects ; the one sought 
liberty and the other retaliation on England. The French 
officers and soldiers who after this went to America, were 
eventually placed in the school of freedom, and learned the 
practice as well as the principles of it by heart. 

As it was impossible to separate the military events which 
took place in America from the principles of the American 
revolution, the publication of those events in France neces- 
sarily connected themselves with the principles that pro- 
duced them. Many of the facts were in themselves princi- 
ples; such as the declaration of American Independence, 
and the treaty of alliance between France and America, 
which recognized the natural rights of man, and justified 
resistance to oppression. 

The then minister of France, count Yergennes, was not 
the friend of America ; and it is both justice and gratitude 
to say, that it was the queen of France who gave the cause 
<>f America a fashion at the French court. Count Vergennes 
was the personal and social friend of Dr. Franklin ; and the 
doctor had obtained by his sensible gracefulness, a s"ft of 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 5? 

mfliienee over him ; but with respect to principles, count 
Vergennes was a despot. 

The situation of Dr. Franklin as minister from America 
to France should be taken into the chain of circumstances. 
A diplomatic character is the narrowest sphere of society 
that man can act in. It forbids intercourse by a reciprocity 
of suspicion; and a diplomatist is a sort of unconnected 
atom, continually repelling and repelled. But this was not 
the case with Dr. Franklin ; he was not the diplomatist of a 
court, but of man. His character as a philosopher had been 
long established, and his circle of society in France wai 
universal. 

Count Vergennes resisted for a considerable time the pub 
lication of the American constitutions in France, translated 
into the French language ; but even in this he was obliged 
to give way to public opinion, and a sort of propriety in 
admitting to appear what he had undertaken to defend. 
The American constitutions were to liberty, what a gram- 
mar is to language: they define its parts of speech, and 
practically construct them into syntax. 

The peculiar situation of the then marquis de la Fayette 
is another link in the great chain. He served in America 
as an American officer, under a commission of congress, and 
by the universality of his acquaintance, was in close friend- 
ship with the civil government of America as well as with 
the military line. He spoke the language of the country, 
entered into the discussions on the principles of government, 
and was always a welcome friend at any election. 

When the war closed, a vast reinforcement to the cause of 
liberty spread itself over France, by the return of the French 
officers and soldiers. A knowledge of the practice was then 
joined to the theory ; and all that was wanting to give it real 
existence, was opportunity. Man, cannot, properly speak- 
ing, make circumstances tor his purpose, but he always has 
it in his power to improve them when they occur : and this 
was the case in France. 

M. Neckar was displaced in May, 1781 ; and by the ill 
management of the finances afterwards, and particularly 
during the extravagant administration of M. Oalonne, the 
revenue of France which was nearly twenty-four millionn 
sterling per year, was become unequal to the expenditures, 
not because the revenue had decreased, but because the ex- 
penses had increased, and this was the circumstance which 
the nation laid hold of to bring: forward a revolution. The 



58 RIGHTS OF MAJT. 

English minister, Mr. Pitt, has frequently alluded to the 
state of the French finances in his budgets, without under 
standing the subject. Had the French parliaments been as 
ready to register edicts for new taxes,' as an English par- 
liament is to grant them, there had been no derangement in 
the finances, nor yet any revolution; but this will better 
explain itself as I proceed. 

It will be necessary here to show how taxes were formerly 
raised in France. Tne king, or rather the court or ministry, 
acting under the use of that name, framed the edicts for 
taxes at their own discretion, and sent them to the parlia- 
ments to be registered ; for until they were registered by the 
parliaments, they were not operative. Disputes had long 
existed between the court and the parliament with respect 
to the extent of the parliament's authority on this head. 
The court insisted that the authority of parliament went no 
farther than to remonstrate or show reasons against the tax, 
reserving to itself the right of determining whether the 
reasons were well or ill-founded ; and in consequence there- 
of, either to withdraw the edict as a matter of choice, or to 
order it to be registered as a matter of authority. The par- 
liaments on their part insisted, that they had not only a 
right to remonstrate, but to reject ; and on this ground they 
were always supported by the nation. 

But to return to the order of my narrative M. Calonne 
wanted money ; and as he knew the sturdy disposition of 
the parliaments with respect to new taxes, he ingeniously 
sought either to approach them by a more gentle means than 
that of direct authority, or to get over their heads by a 
manoeuvre : and, for this purpose, he revived the project of 
assembling a body of men from the several provinces, under 
the style of an " assembly of the notables," or men of note, 
who met in 1787, and were either to recommend taxes tc 
the parliaments, or to act as a parliament themselves. An 
assembly under this name had been called in 1687. 

As we are to view this as the first practical step towards 
the revolution, it will be proper to enter into some par- 
ticulars respecting it. The assembly of the notables has in 
some places been mistaken for the states-general, but was 
wholly a different body ; the states-general being always by 
election. The persons who composed the assembly of the 
notables were all nominated by the king, and consisted of 
one hundred and forty members. But as M. Calonne could 
not depend upon a majority of this assemblv in his favor, he 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 59 

very ingeniously arranged them in such a manner as to 
make forty-four a majority of one hundred and forty : to 
effect this he disposed of them into seven separate com- 
mittees of twenty members each. Every general question 
was to be decided, not by a majority of persons, but by a 
majority of committees ; and, as eleven votes would make a 
majority in a committee, and four committees a majority of 
aeven, M. Calonne had good reason to conclude, that as 
forty-four would determine any general question, he could 
not be out-voted. But all his plans deceived him, and in 
the event became his overthrow. 

The then marquis de la Fayette was placed in the second 
committee, of which count d Artois was president ; and as 
money matters was the object, it naturally brought into view 
ev^ry circumstance connected with it. M. de la Fayette 
made a verbal charge against Calonne, for selling crown 
land to the amount of two millions of livres, in a manner 
that appeared to be unknown to the king. The count d' Ar- 
tois (as if to intimidate, for the Bastile was then in being) 
askea the marquis, if he would render the charge in writing ? 
He replied that he would. The count d' Artois did not de- 
mand it, but brought a message from the king to that pur- 
port. M. de la Fayette then delivered in his charge in writ- 
ing, to be given to the king, undertaking to support it. No 
further proceedings were had upon this affair ; but M. Calonne 
was soon after dismissed by the king, and went to England. 

As M. de la Fayette, from the experience he had had in 
America, was better acquainted witn the science of civil 
government than the generality of the members who com- 
posed the assembly of the notables could then be, the brunt 
of the business fell considerably to his share. The plan of 
those who had a constitution in view, was to contend with 
the court on the ground of taxes, and some of them openly 
professed their object. Disputes frequently arose between 
count d' Artois and M. de la Fayette upon various subjects. 
With respect to the arrears already incurred, the latter pro- 
posed to remedy them, by accommodating the expenses to 
the revenue, instead of the revenue to the expenses ; and as 
objects of reform, he proposed to abolish the .Bastile, and all 
the state prisoners throughout the nation (the keeping of 
which was attended with great expense) and to suppress let- 
ires de cachet / but those matters were not then much at- 
tended to ; and with respect to lettres de cacJiet, a majority 
of the nobles appeared to be in favor of them. 



60 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

On the subject of supplying the treasury by new taxes, 
the assembly ueclined taking the matter on themselves, con- 
curring in the opinion that they had not authority. In a 
debate on the subject, M. de la Fayette said, that raising 
money by taxes could only be done by a national assembly, 
freely elected by the people and acting as their representa- 
tives. Do you mean, said the count d'Artois, the states- 
general ? M. de la Fayette replied, that he did. Will you, 
said the count d'Artois, sign -what you say, to be given to 
the king ? The other replied, that he not only would do 
this, but that he would go further, and say, that the effec- 
tual mode would be, for the king to agree to the establish- 
ment of a constitution. 

As one of the plans had thus failed, that of getting the 
assembly to act as a parliament, the other came into view, 
that of recommending. On this subject, the assembly 
agreed to recommend two new taxes to be enregistered by 
the parliament, the one a stamp-act, and the other a terri- 
torial tax, or sort of land tax. The two have been' estimated 
at about five millions sterling per annum. "We have now 
to turn our attention to the parliaments, on whom the busi 
ness was again devolving. 

The archbishop of Toulouse (since archbishop of Sens, 
and now a cardinal) was appointed to the administration of 
the finances, soon after the dismission of Calonne. He was 
also made prime minister, an office that did not always 
exist in France. When this office did not exist, the chief of 
each of the principal departments transacted business imme- 
diately with the king ; but when the prime minister was 
appointed, they did business only with him. The arch- 
bishop arrived to more state-authority than any minister 
since the duke de Choiseuil, and the nation was strongly 
disposed in his favor ; but by a line of conduct scarcely to 
be accounted for, he perverted every opportunity, turned 
out a despot, and sunk into disgrace, and a cardinal. 

The assembly of the notables having broke up, the new 
minister sent the edicts for the two new taxes recommended 
by the assembly to the parliament, to be enregistered. 
They of course came first before the parliament of Paris, 
who returned for answer ; That with suoh a revenue as th& 
nation then supported, the name of taxes ought not to be men- 
tioned, but for the purpose of reducing them' and threw 
both the edicts out.* 

* When the English minister, Mr. Pitt, mentions the French finances again 



RIGHTS OF MAN. 61 

On this refusal, the parliament was ordered to Versailles, 
where in the usual form, the king held, what under the old 
government was called a bed of justice : and the two edicts 
were enregistered in presence of the parliament, by an order 
of state, in the manner mentioned, p. 58. On this, the par- 
liament immediately returned to Paris, renewed their session 
in form, and ordered the registering to be struck out, declar- 
ing that every thing done at Versailles was illegal. All the 
members of parliament were then served with lettres de 
zacliet) and exiled to Trois ; but as they continued as inflex- 
ible in exile as before, and as vengeance did not supply the 
place of taxes, they were after a short time recalled to Paris. 

The edicts were again tendered to them, and the count 
d'Artois undertook to act as representative for the king. 
For this purpose, he came from Versailles to Paris, in a train 
of procession ; and the parliament was assembled to receive 
him. But show and parade had lost their influence in 
France ; and whatever ideas of importance he might set off 
with, he had to return with those of mortification and dis- 
appointment. On alighting from his carriage to ascend the 
steps of the parliament house, the crowd (which was numer- 
ously collected) threw out trite expressions, saying, " This is 
monsieur d'Artois, who wants more of our money to spend." 
The marked disapprobation which he saw, impressed him 
with apprehensions ; and the word aux armes^ (to arms,} was 
given out by the officer of the guard who attended him. It 
was so loudly vociferated, that it echoed through the 
avenues of the house, and produced a temporary confusion : 
I was then standing in one of the apartments through which 
he had to pass, and could not avoid reflecting how wretched 
is the condition of a disrespected man. 

He endeavoured to impress the parliament by great words, 
and opened his authority by saying, " The king, our lord and 
master." The parliament received him very coolly, and 
with their usual determination not to register the taxes ; and 
in this manner the interview ended. 

After this a new subject took place : in the various debates 
and contests that arose between the court and the parlia- 
ments on the subject of taxes, the parliament of Paris at last 
declared, that although it had been customary for parlia- 
ments to enregister edicts for taxes as a matter of conveni- 
ence, the right belonged only to the states-general : and that, 

in the Eng'ish parliament, it would be well that he noticed this as an ex- 
ample. 



62 BIGHTS OF MAIS'. 

therefore, the parliaments COIL. I no longer with propriety 
continue to debate on what it had not authority to act. The 
king, after this, came to Paris, and held a meeting with the 
parliament, in which he continued from ten in the morning 
till about six in the evening ; and, in a manner that appear- 
ed to proceed from him, as if unconsulted upon with the 
cabinet or the ministry, gave his word to the parliament, 
that the states-general should be convened. 

But, after this, another scene arose, on a ground different 
from all the former. The minister and the cabinet were 
averse to calling the states-general : they well knew, that 
if the states-general were assembled, that themselves must 
fall ; and as the king had not mentioned any time, they 
hit on a project calculated to elude, without appearing to 
oppose. 

For this purpose, the court set about making a sort of 
constitution itself: it was principally the work of M. 
Lamoigiion, keeper of the seals, who afterwards shot him- 
self. The arrangement consisted in establishing a body 
under the name of a cour pleniere, or full court, in which 
were invested all the power that the government might have 
occasion to make use of. The persons composing this court 
to be nominated by the king ; the contended right of taxa- 
tion was given up on the part of the king, and a new crimi- 
nal code of laws, and law proceedings, was substituted in 
the room of the former. The thing, in many points, con- 
tained better principles than those upon which the govern- 
ment had hitherto been administered : but, with respect to 
the cour pleniere, it was no other than a medium through 
which despotism was to pass, without appearing to act 
directly from itself. 

The cabinet had high expectations from their new contri- 
vance. The persons who were to compose the cour pleniere^ 
were already nominated ; and as it was necessary to carry a 
fair appearance, many of the best characters in the nation 
were appointed among the number. It was to commence 
on the 8th of May, 1788 : but an opposition arose to it, on 
two grounds the one as to principle, the other as to 
form. 

On the ground of principle it was contended, that govern- 
ment had not a right to alter itself ; and that if the practice 
was once admitted it would grow into a principle, and be 
made a precedent for any future alterations the government 
might wish to establish ; that the right of altering the gov- 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 99 

eminent was a national right, and not a right of government. 
A.nd on the ground of form, it was contended that the cour 
pleniere was nothing more than a large cabinet. 

The then dukes de la Rochefoucault, Luxembourg, de 
Koailles, and many others, refused to accept the nomination, 
and strenuously opposed the whole plan. When the edict 
for establishing tnis new court was sent to the parliaments 
to be enregistered, and put into execution, they resisted also. 
The parliament of Paris not only refused, but denied the 
authority ; and the contest renewed itself between the parli- 
ament and the cabinet more strongly than ever. While the 
parliament was sitting in debate on tnis subject, the ministry 
ordered a regiment of soldiers to surround the house, and 
form a blockade. The members sent out for beds and pro- 
vision, and lived as in a besieged citadel ; and as this had no 
effect, the commanding officer was ordered to enter the 
parliament house and seize them, which he did, and some 
of the principal members were shut up in different prisons. 
About the same time a deputation of persons arrived from 
the province of Britanny, to remonstrate against the estab- 
lishment of the cour pleniere / and those the archbishop sent 
to the Bastile. But the spirit of the nation was not to be 
overcome ; and it was so fully sensible of the strong ground 
it had taken, that of withholding taxes, that it contented 
itself with keeping up a sort of quiet resistance, which effec- 
tually overthrew all the plans at that time formed against it. 
The project of the cour pleniere was at last obliged to be 
given up, and the prime minister not long afterwards fol- 
lowed its fate ; and M. Neckar was recalled into office. 

The attempt to establish the cour pleniere had an effect 
upon the nation which was not anticipated. It was a sort 
01 new form of government, that insensibly served to put 
the old one out of sight, and to unhinge it from the super- 
stitious authority of antiquity. It was government dethron- 
ing government ; and the old one, by attempting to make a 
new one, made a chasm. 

The failure of this scheme renewed the subject of conven- 
ing the states-general : and this gave rise to a new series of 
politics. There was no settled form for convening the 
states-general ; all that it positively meant, was a deputation 
from what was then called the clergy, the nobility, and the 
commons ; but their numbers, or their proportions, had not 
been always the same. Thsy had been convened only on 
extraordinary occasions, the last of which was in 1614 ; their 



64 KIGHTS OF MA&. 

numbers were then in equal proportions, and they voted by 
orders. 

It could not well escape the sagacity of M. Neckar, that 
the mode of 1614 would answer neither the purpose of the 
then government, nor of the nation. As matters were at 
that time circumstanced, it would have been too contentious 
to argue upon any thing. The - debates would have been 
endless upon privileges and exemptions, in which neither the 
wants of the government, nor the wishes of the nation for 
a constitution, would have been attended to. But as he did 
not choose to take the decision upon himself, he summoned 
again the assembly of the notables, and referred it to them. 
This body was in general interested in the decision, being 
chiefly of the aristocracy and the high paid clergy ; and they 
decided in favor of the mode of 1614. This decision was 
against the sense of the nation, and also against the wishes 
of the court ; for the aristocracy opposed itself to both, and 
contended for privileges independent of either. The sub 
ject was then taken up by the parliament, who recommended 
that the number of the commons should be equal to the 
other two ; and that they should all sit in one house, and 
vote in one body. The number finally determined on was 
twelve hundred ; six hundred to be chosen by the commons 
(and this was less than their proportion ought to have been 
when their worth and consequence is considered on a national 
scale), three hundred by the clergy, and three hundred by 
the aristocracy ; but with respect to the mode of assembling 
themselves, whether together or apart, or the manner in 
which they should vote, those matters were referred.* 

* Mr. Burke, (and I must take the liberty of telling him that he is unac- 
quainted with French affairs,) speaking upon this subject, says, " The first 
thing that struck me in calling the states-general, was a great departure from 
the ancient Bourse ;" and he soon after says, " From the moment I read the 
list, I saw distinctly, and very nearly as it has happened, all that was to follow." 
Mr. Burke certainly did not see all that was to follow. I have endeavored to 
impress him, as well before as after the states-general met, that there would 
be a revolution ; but w* not able to make him see it, neither would be be- 
lieve it. How then he could distinctly see all the parts, when the whole waa 
out of sight, is beyond my comprehension. And with respect to the " de- 
parture from the ancient course," besides the natural weakness of tb 
remark, it shows that he is unacquainted with circumstances. The departure 
was necessary, from the experience had upon it, that the ancient course was 
a bed one. The states-general of 1614 were called at the commencement of 
the civil war in the minority of Louis XIII. ; but by the clash of arranging 
thorn by orders, they increased the confusion they were called to compose. 
The author of FTntrigiie du Cabinet, (lutrigue of the Cabinet,) ^ho wrote 
before any revolution was thought of in France, speaking of the states-general 
of 1614, says, "They held the public in suspense five months and bv the 



BIGHTS OF MAN. 65 

The election that followed, was not a contested election, 
but an animated one. The candidates were not men, but 
principles. Societies were formed in Paris, and committees 
of correspondence and communication established throughout 
the nation, for the purpose of enlightening the people, and 
explaining to them the principles of civil government ; and 
so orderly was the election conducted, that it did not give 
rise even to the rumour of tumult. 

The states-general were to meet at Versailles in April. 
1789, but did not assemble till May. They located them- 
selves in three separate chambers, or rather the clergy and 
the aristocracy withdrew each into a separate chamber. 
The majority of the aristocracy claimed what they call the 
privilege of voting as a separate body, and of giving their 
consent or their negative in that manner ; and many of the 
bishops and high-beneficed clergy claimed the same privilege 
on the part of their order. 

The tiers ctat (as they were called) disowned any know- 
ledge of artificial orders and privileges ; and they were not 
only resolute on this point but somewhat disdainful. They 
began to consider aristocracy as a kind of fungus growing 
out of the corruption of society, that could not be admitted 
even as a branch of it; and from the disposition the aristo- 
cracy had shown, by upholding lettres de cachet, and in sundry 
other instances, it was manifest that no constitution could be 
formed by admitting men in any other character than as 
national men. 

After various altercations on this head, the tiers etat, or 
commons, (as they were then called) declared themselves 
(on a motion made for that purpose by the abbe Sieyes,) 

" THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATION \ and that the two 

orders could be considered but as deputies of corporations, 
and could only have a deliberative voice but when they 
assembled in a national character, with the national repre- 
sentatives" This proceeding extinguished the style of etats 
generaux or states-general, and erected i0 into the style it 
now bears, that of V assemblee nationale or national assembly. 
This motion was not made in a precipitate manner : it 
was the result of cool deliberation, and concerted between 

questions agitated therein, and the heat with which they were put, it 
appears that the great (les grands] thought more to satisfy their particular 
passions, than to procure the good of the nation ; and the whole time pasted 
away in altercations, 'ere monies and parade." 1'Intrigue du Cabinet, voL i 
p. 829. 



66 EIGHTS OF MAN. 

the national representatives and the patriotic members of the 
two chambers, who saw into the folly, mischief, and injustice 
of artificial privileged distinctions. It was become evident, 
that no constitution, worthy of being called by that name, 
could be established on any thing less tnan a national ground. 
The aristocracy had hitherto opposed the despotism of the 
court, and affected the language of patriotism ; but it op- 
posed it as its rival ; (as the English barons opposed king 
John,) and it now opposed the nation from the same motives. 

On carrying this motion, the national representatives, as 
had been concerted, sent an invitation to the two chambers, 
to unite with them in a national character, and proceed to 
business. A majority of the clergy, chiefly of the parish 
priests, withdrew from the clerical chamber, and joined the 
nation ; and forty-five from the other chamber joined in like 
manner. There is a sort of secret history belonging to this 
last circumstance, which is necessary to its explanation : it 
was not judged prudent that all the patriotic members of the 
chamber, styling itself the nobles, should quit it at once ; and 
in consequence of this arrangement, they drew off by degrees, 
always leaving some, as well to reason the case, as to watch 
the suspected. In a little time, the numbers increased from 
forty-five to eighty, and soon after to a greater number ; 
which with a majority of the clergy, and the whole of the 
national representatives, put the malcontents in a very 
diminutive condition. 

The king, who, very different to the general class called 
by that name, is a man of a good he\rt, showed himself dis- 
posed to recommend a union of the three chambers, on the 
ground the national assembly had taken ; but the malcon- 
tents exerted themselves to prevent it, and began now to 
have another project in view. Their numbers consisted of 
a majority of the aristocratical chamber, and a minority of 
the clerical chamber, chiefly of bishops and high benenced 
clergy ; and these men were determined to put every thing 
at issue, as well By strength as by stratagem. They had no 
objection to a constitution ; but it must be such an one as 
themselves should dictate, and suited to their own views and 
particular situations. On the other hand, the nation dis- 
owned knowing any thing of them but as citizens, and was 
determined to shut out all such upstart pretensions. The 
more aristocracy appeared, the more it was despised ; there 
was a visible imbecility and want of intellects in the majority, 
a sort of je rte xcais qttoi, that while it affected to be more 



EIGHTS OF MAN. 67 

than citizen, was less than man. It lost ground more from 
contempt than from hatred ; and was rather jeered at as an 
ass, than dreaded as a lion. This is the general character of 
aristocracy, or what are called nobles or nobility, or rather 
.no-ability, in all countries. 

The plan of the malcontents consisted now of two things ; 
either to deliberate and vote by chambers (or orders,) more 
especially on all questions respecting a constitution (by which 
the aristocratical chamber would nave had a negative on 
any article of the constitution) or, in case they could not 
accomplish this object, to overthrow the national assembly 
entirely. 

To effect one or the other of these objects, they began now 
to cultivate a friendship with the despotism they had hither- 
to attempted to rival, and the count d'Artois became theii 
ch